Packed schedule for this weekend's Italian Festival

By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Fri., Aug. 5, 2011
There is something for everyone scheduled for the Enfield Italian Festival Aug. 5-7. Photos contributed. - Contributed Photo

For the weekend of Aug. 5 through 7, the community is invited to be part of “la famiglia” at the Mount Carmel Society’s 86th annual feast. The traditional celebration actually begins Thursday night, Aug. 4, with a candlelight procession.

“It’s first and foremost a celebration of religion,” said Society President Carl Sferrazza. “That’s how we think it’s appropriate to start.”

The festival’s roots date back to the 14th century and are associated with a vision said to have been experienced by Saint Simon Stock, during which the Virgin Mary gave him a sacramental called the Brown Scapular. Carmelites—those living on Mount Carmel in Israel—began honoring the Blessed Mother with a feast, and the tradition continues today in many Italian communities.

The public is invited to join members of Enfield’s Mount Carmel Society and their families for the small processional beginning at dark at the Society’s grounds at 93 Park Avenue in Enfield.

The festival opens Friday night at 5 p.m., again on the Society's grounds, with food and carnival rides for children. Friday’s entertainment will begin around 7:30 p.m. with what the Society is calling the Deana Martin Variety Show, modeled after her famous father’s program. Performing alongside Martin will be comedian Pete Barbutti and singing impressionist Bob Anderson. Another singer from New York City will also perform.

Sferrazza stressed each night of the festival is truly a family event, with “G-rated” entertainment. Commenting on Barbutti’s past performances, Martin said, “He’s the funniest, clean comedian I’ve ever heard.”

Saturday night the festival opens again at 5 p.m. with the Deana Martin Variety Show taking the stage around 7:30 p.m. Food and carnival rides will be available throughout the night, and the “Cake Boss” tent showcasing pastry chef Mauro Castano will also open Saturday. Castano and his family will be signing autographs and selling merchandise. The Deana Martin-themed cake Castano will bring will be on display in the banquet hall, beginning on Saturday.

Prior to the festival events on Sunday, the public is invited to an outdoor mass at 8:30 a.m. on the grounds. Following mass, a continental breakfast will be served, and the traditional processional through the streets of Thompsonville will begin. A 17-piece Italian marching band will lead the parade that traces the route the Society’s founders took 86 years ago.

“This is the heart of the festival and our tradition,” Sferrazza said. People are welcome to join in the parade and line the streets.

The carnival and food booths will open at 5 p.m. Sunday, and entertainment will begin around 6 p.m. Two Italian singers will perform, and Castano will talk about the famous show “Cake Boss” and give a demonstration.

The traditional greased pole contest will start at 6:30 p.m. People can begin signing up at 5 p.m. for the competition where teams climb on one another to reach the top of a greased telephone pole. The first team to the top will find $300 in cash and imported Italian cold cuts for their prize. Entrants must be at least 18 years old.

Parking and admission are free for each night of the festival, with limited parking available on the grounds. For more information visit

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