The festival was founded by a small group of Italian Americans residing in Watkins Glen to honor the Feast of the Assumption, which occurs each August. To celebrate, a procession of men carried the Virgin Mary on their shoulders through the streets of the village, ending in Lafayette Park. Over the years, the celebration grew and the location had to be changed to Clute Park. It is now a three day event that attracts more than 50,000 visitors.
Proceeds from the festival are provided to local charities such as:
The American Red Cross Disaster Relief, Boy Scouts of America, Burdett Fire Department, Catholic Charities First Step Program, Concerts in the Park, Crystal Valley Mennonite Church, Elizabeth Amisano Cancer Fund, Montour Falls Fire Department, New York State Wine Grape Growers (in Memory of Monty Stamp), Office for the Aging/RSVP, Seneca Santa, Schuyler County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Schuyler County Little League, Schuyler Headstart, Schuyler Hospital's Health Foundation, Schuyler County Humane Society, Schuyler Outreach, Schuyler County Strong Kids/Safe Kids, Labor of Love, Andrew "AJ" Sperr Memorial Scholarship Fund, Watkins Glen Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Watkins Glen Police Benevolent Association, Spirit of Schuyler, and many others.
In addition to supporting local charities, funds for scholarships for graduating seniors in all Schuyler County School Districts (Watkins Glen Central, Odessa-Montour Central, and Bradford) are provided annually.
The festival staff is comprised of volunteers who graciously dedicate their time 12 months out of the year to plan for the annual event; new volunteers are always welcome. For more information, contact the festival president, Louis Perazzini at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Interested in the Italian culture and want to learn more? The following web sites may be of interest:
We hope you enjoy the festival....it is fun with a kick!