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Italian Festival ready to go at Fayette fairgrounds

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

The Centennial Chevrolet Italian Festival opens Friday and continues through Sunday at the Fayette County Fairgrounds in Dunbar Township, featuring entertainment, food, contests and more.

“I want to thank Debbie Peters and everyone at Centennial Chevrolet for sponsoring the festival this year,” festival chairman Terry Cellurale said. “We are giving away a brand new Chevrolet Camaro. Admission to the festival is $5. Each paid admission receives a ticket that is one chance at winning the car. ”

Cellurale noted that children age 6 and under are admitted free, 7 and older pay the $5 admission, and if a child has the winning ticket, the car must be claimed by an adult.

Andrew Stockey and Mike Clark from Channel 4 in Pittsburgh will draw the ticket live at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Dance Moms will appear

The Dance Moms from television's hit show will be there to judge the Little Miss and Mister Italy pageant from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, when the winners will be crowned. The Dance Moms will be available for autographs and pictures. Also signing autographs Saturday afternoon will be the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball players, along with other professional athletes.

The Centennial Chevrolet Italian Festival is supporting 18 charities this year.

The impersonators are a fundraiser to benefit Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School. Among the impersonators are Young Elvis, Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Cher, Lady Gaga, Robin Williams, Rodney Dangerfield, Elton John and Frank Sinatra.

The impersonators are doing shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.

“We are very happy to be a part of this year's Italian Festival,” said Bob Junk, local economy manager for Fay-Penn Economic Development Council. “Events like this are a great way to bring our area residents together for a good time as well as to showcase our wonderful local businesses and restaurants. Many of the area's locally owned businesses have come in as sponsors for the festival, and it really proves how our business owners and managers are dedicated to the quality of life in Fayette County.”

“We will have a Buy Local booth where visitors can purchase Buy Local Community Discount Cards for a reduced price of $5,” noted Lori Ann Scott, sustainable communities specialist with Fay-Penn Economic Development Council. “Also, present your Buy Local Community Discount Card at the registration table by the main gate and receive an extra free chance to win the 2013 Chevy Camaro.”

Cellurale said organizers expect to have 75,000 in attendance over the three days.

“We have hundreds of vendors, so come prepared to shop. We have everything that you can imagine, so early Christmas shopping is suggested. We work hard to bring this all together,” he said.

Food, entertainment

Cellurale's sister-in-law Marilyn will be at the festival making his mother's gnocchi for sale. Nemacolin Woodlands, Caporella's, Muruca's, DiMarco's Bistro and the Uniontown Sons of Italy, whose members will prepare their popular gisuppi sandwich, will all be selling delicious selections. Other crowd favorites will be Mike Clark from Channel 4 and his daughter making lasagna, and Michelle Wright from Channel 4 and her son and daughter selling honey from her farm.

Area wineries will offer wine-tasting throughout the weekend.

Nonstop entertainment is scheduled.

Friday at noon is a band festival featuring local marching bands with cheerleaders and dance schools performing in the indoor arena. In the outdoor arena will be a motocross championship race. Among the performers are the Sammy Brooks Band at 3:30 p.m. and Brass Knuckles at 9 p.m.

Saturday will feature a strolling quartet and strolling mandolin player, a magician throughout the fairgrounds and balloon-maker, circus, climbing wall and a 300-foot zip line and more for the kids. Dan Parker, a LEGO master, is expected from Seattle, Wash., and will demonstrate in the 4-H Youth Building. Carnegie Science Center is bringing a planetarium display.

Car show

The fifth annual Italian Festival Car Show is expected to have hundreds of cars. It is sponsored by Joe's Body Shop and Towing. First, second and third places will be awarded in categories including antique, muscle, motorcycle, new, old, truck, Corvette old and new, Chevy, Ford, Mopar, Foreign old and new, race car, hydraulic, and survivor (original) and Best of Show. Joe's has been in business in Fairbank, Pa., for 63 years. A fireworks display will be presented at 10 p.m.

Festival hours are 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the festival begins at 10 a.m. with a Catholic Italian Mass in the indoor arena. A demolition derby is scheduled for the outdoor arena. During the afternoon, Miracle League of Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands, a nonprofit baseball league for children with special needs serving Greene, Fayette, Westmoreland and Somerset counties, will hold a demonstration baseball game inside the parking area.

The festival, held rain or shine, concludes at 8 p.m. Sunday. Organizers are Cellurale, Amy Brown, Dave and Cindy Dragison.

The $5 admission charge includes all activities except the Celebrity Impersonator shows and the demo derby, which have an additional fee. A complete schedule of events can be viewed at www.italianfestivalfayette.com. The Fayette County Fairgrounds is located at 132 Pechin Road, Dunbar.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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