The Italian festival started years ago as a Catholic Church celebration
of the feast Assumption- August 15th. After mass a band played music and they also had a parade. In the parade, a statue of
the Blessed Mother Mary was carried on a huge float and was shown off all throughout the streets. This celebration was carried
out for many years before it was finally stopped.
Then in 1977, two women of our community started up the celebration
again. This festival is held usually every year around the middle of August. For about three years, the festivities were held
at Lafayette Park. In 1980 a mostly Italian committee took over the festival and moved it to Clute Park. They started the
tradition of having the parade again, and had this every year. The parade went from Decatur Street to Forth Street and then
down to Clute Park. In the new parades the Grand Marshall was the highlight of the parade. The Grand Marshall is the oldest
Italian in the community, and is honored by having this prestigious title.
After the parade ends, the festival really gets going. All the food
booths start making great dishes, many which are made of Italian cuisine. They also have dancing, Bingo, Karoke and many fun
rides that kids love to be a part of. Then when night falls, they have a beautiful display of fireworks. Which is considered
by many as the best fireworks exhibit in the area.
Then the next morning the festival starts again, and carries on until
approximately 5 o'clock. After this time, the vendors and people who run the rides starting packing up their equipment. In
the year 2001, which will be the upcoming festival it will be the 21st annual gathering. This important and fun event is planned
to take place from August 3-5 and is estimated as being bigger and better than ever.