Find the Felittese

Tucked away just off Main Street in Old Forge, the annual Festival of the Felittese is not easy to find. But, oh, so worth it.
The 29th festival opens tonight, Sept. 9, and continues through Sunday at the Felittese fairgrounds, 145 Third Street, in the town that bills itself as the “Pizza Capital of the World.” There’ll be pizza at the Felittese for sure, but that’s only the start of it. Reports have it the Felittese volunteers have 4500 meatballs ready to go along with 600 pounds of tripe and 700 pounds of sofrito.
My wife is all about the tripe but I am more likely to order the cavatelli with broccoli. Traditionally it has enough garlic to keep me safe from vampires for another 12 months. I have yet to try the sofrito but this might be the year. My friend Jody Brogna, who first enlightened me about the festival, says I’m really missing something.
You’ll find plenty of other Italian specialities including pasta fagioli (pasta “fazool”) and porketta, and make sure you save room for homemade cannoli. There is a whole dessert tent as a matter of fact.
There’s music each day. I am not familiar with The Luongo Brothers, playing tonight from 6 to 10, or Fuzzy Park Band, Saturday 6-9, but I certainly can vouch for Sweet Pepper and the Long Hots booked for Sunday 5 to 9. I can’t get enough of them.
There’s a 5K run/walk on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Old Forge High football field. Since Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001, this year’s event honors first responders.
The festival is an old world tradition brought to America by immigrants from Felitto, Italy. It honors Our Lady of Constantinople.
But first you have to get there. Roughly speaking, the grounds lie behind Salerno’s Pizza on Moosic Road. At least that’s the way I get there. Heading north through Old Forge, I turn right onto Moosic Road and left just past Salerno’s. Then I search for a place to park.

Ed Ackerman