SCRANTON -- Though there was food every which way attendees turned, Dolores Teeple of Archbald didn't hesitate once when in search of a meal Sunday at La Festa Italiana in Scranton.
"Do you have the broccoli and shells?" she asked a worker inside the Arcaro & Genell tent. When the Old Forge eatery's employee nodded yes, Teeple immediately said she'd take one.
"I love all their food, but the broccoli and shells? Well, I'm Italian. I love broccoli, oil and garlic. It's delicious."
This year marks the 50th for the family-run business, and Austin Genell said they were enjoying the festival, as always.
"We're here every year. We love it."
Another area business was excited to be at La Festa once again, particularly because it has been gearing up for a reopening during the past couple of months.
"Almost there," Pat Greenfield, owner of Grico's Restaurant in Exeter, said as she stood outside the tent where foodies lined up to order steak sandwiches and chicken scampi sandwiches. "We plan to be open again in January."
Grico's was ravaged by fire in August 2011, and the business has been rebuilding since.
Dan Figura's Concessions is no stranger to many area festivals, having been at La Festa the past 11 years with tents that focused on Italian eats. This year another tent was added that has no Italian essence, but tons of flavor for those looking to feed a sweet tooth.
"Warning: This food is not health food," a bright black and orange banner proclaimed over the booth. Underneath sat a white board scrawled with a list of the foods that were being deep-fried: Oreos, Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, apple slices, Peppermint Patties and, the not often seen, Kool-Aid.
"They're like little balls of candy, but it tastes just like what I drink," 7-year-old Daniel Stuppino of Moosic said as he popped a red-colored ball into his mouth. The Tropical Punch Kool-Aid is made into a paste, rolled into balls, deep fried and sprinkled with sugar.
Desserts of the non-fried variety were being enjoyed elsewhere. Jaime Durado, 32, of Scranton, wiped cannoli cream off her 5-year-old son Dylan's fingers.
"I don't think I've ever seen a child run faster to food," the mother laughed as she recounted Dylan's sprint to one of the New York bakery vendor dessert cases that lined Courthouse Square.
While the food is possibly the biggest draw of La Festa, the various forms of entertainment can't be forgotten. La Festa had rotating acts on three stages this year, as well as an area where attendees could get in on a little Italian game action.
"I grew up watching my father play bocce ball," said Danny Lovaglio, a member of the Victor Alfieri Society. Lovaglio was born in Italy, then moved to the United States in 1949, and resided in Brooklyn for many years. The bocce lover manned a roped-off area in the grass in the center of Courthouse Square, teaching anyone interested how to play the game.
"So many, many people have come by to learn, from little ones to adults. It's a lot of fun, and very simple."
Today marks the last day for La Festa's festivities. The festival will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Noon: The Gene Dempsey Orchestra
1:30 p.m.: Gerard Mayer Show Band
3 p.m.: Pat Aita and the Hi-Lites
4:30 p.m.: Damian the Magician
5:30 p.m.: Los Vega Show Band
7:30 p.m.: Dean Martin Tribute- La Festa's Featured Act from Las Vegas
11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.: Celebrity Chef Joseph Caputo of Zuppa!
1 p.m.: Binky and Jack
3:30 p.m.: Sarah Marie and Joseph
5 p.m.: Frankie & The Calamari Singers and Dancers
Picnic Area Stage
11:30 a.m.: The Fortunes
1:30 p.m.: Wanabees
3 p.m.: Danny Rosato and Katrina