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Schuyler Italian-American Fest on 8/2 – 8/4

The Schuyler County Italian-American Festival returns for its 34th consecutive year Aug. 2-4 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen.Carnival rides and games, music, marching bands, skate park stunts, a huge variety of food, a pasta-eating contest and a motorcycle show all are part of this year’s event. New this year: entertainment by Midnight Special, a nationally renowned band based in Cincinnati, on Friday, Aug. 2.All proceeds from the Italian-American Festival are returned to the community through donations and scholarships.The festival grounds will open on Friday, Aug. 2, at 1 p.m. Midnight Special, noted for its 1970s “arena rock,” will perform at the Entertainment Stage from 8-11:30 p.m.The ever-popular parade on Saturday at noon will feature a wide variety of units. The parade route will be from Watkins Glen High School to Clute Park. The reviewing stand will again be at Lafayette Park.Another of Saturday’s highlights will be the pasta-eating contest presented by Southern Finger Lakes Women and Seneca Harbor Station. The contest, open to anyone of any age, will be at 4 p.m. at the Entertainment Stage.Music Saturday night will be by Shylock Foxx, a great cover band, on stage from 8 p.m. to midnight.The festival’s acclaimed fireworks will again be the biggest show seen from the shores of Seneca Lake. The always-memorable show will be Saturday night at 10:15. Sunday’s highlight is the Italian-American Festival Motorcycle Show. Motorcyclists and motorcycle fans are invited starting at noon. Parking will be free for all motorcycles.The Lakeside Skate Park Competition will also get underway at noon on Sunday. The competitors amaze spectators with their stunts on skateboards, rollerblades and bicycles.More than 20 food concessions, upwards of 50 craft vendors, bingo and, of course, amusement rides all will offer something for everyone throughout the weekend.The Tony Tallarida Memorial Bocce Tournament will be returning, too.Except for the amusements, all of the entertainment is free. There is no admission to the festival, and parking on Clute Park grounds is only $5 per vehicle. The festival has plenty of handicapped parking spaces available.As part of its emphasis on offering a family-friendly experience, the organizing committee has prohibited all outside alcoholic beverages from the festival grounds. Coolers and bags will be checked.Local wines and ice cold beer will be available for purchase at the festival’s beer garden, a designated area designed to offer a relaxing atmosphere for festival-goers 21 and older.For more information about any aspect of the festival, including participating in the parade or the bocce tournament, see the festival website at www.watkinsglenitalianfestival.com or contact festival chairman Charlie Scaptura at gottmudd1312@yahoo.com.

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