Eat your  heart out – La Festa Italiana full of treats and entertainment

Eat your heart out – La Festa Italiana full of treats and entertainment

During Labor Day weekend in Scranton, everyone can be Italian.
La Festa Italiana kicks off its 43rd year Friday, Aug. 31, from 4 to 10 p.m. with additional hours Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, Scranton. The free, family-friendly event is a tradition in Northeast Pennsylvania, with lots of people behind the scenes working toward a weekend of food and fun, said La Festa president Chris DiMattio.
“People come for the food, the entertainment, to meet (up) with friends and meet new ones,” he said. “It’s a great event for everyone to get together with friends and family downtown.”
Weekend Times put together a handy guide to the tastes, sights and sounds of La Festa Italiana. Mangia!
Food  
Come hungry. More than 80 vendors will offer a variety of dishes and desserts from Italy and beyond, ranging from pasta, pizza and cannoli to Polish sausage and Greek delicacies.
La Festa favorites such as UNICO National’s porketta sandwiches and Diana’s Pizza, which has catered to crowds since the festival’s first year, will be back along with local staples.
“Nearly all the vendors are family businesses, and just like in each region of Italy, everyone prides themselves on their own recipes. That’s the way it is at La Festa as well,” DiMattio said. “Everyone’s pizza is different, everyone’s cannoli is different, the sauces are different and unique. There’s really something for everyone.”
Farmer’s market
Fresh fruits and vegetables will be available from John’s Corn. Grown on a farm in Ransom Twp., peaches, tomatoes, Italian beans, prunes and other crops will be ripe for picking up.
Music
Music fans can catch performances from bands, dance groups and more across three stages around the square.
The year’s entertainment includes the return of festival favorite the Cameos. The eight-piece oldies/vocal harmony group will perform its renditions of hits from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Audiences also have the chance to see performances by Gene Dempsey Orchestra, Black Tie Stereo, Old Friends, Flaxy Morgan, Popstar Drive and more. Jim Cullen, Jim Waltich and Jack Bordo also will perform while strolling around the square.
Other entertainment
Aside from music, the Jersey Pizza Boys will display their skills spinning and tossing pizza dough. Brothers Michael and Nicholas Testa’s talents garnered them more than a combined 100 million views on YouTube and appearances on “Today,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Little Big Shots.”
“They’re quite the sensation on YouTube,” DiMattio said. “I haven’t seen them yet (live), but one of our volunteers saw them and said it was an incredible show.”
There also will be a cannoli-eating contest Monday at 3 p.m., and guests can play bocce with Danny Lovaglio. On Sunday night, a fireworks display will light up the sky at approximately 10 p.m.
For the family
La Festa, which does not allow alcohol, offers lots of family-friendly activities, too.
Kids can check out the bounce house and performances. Damien the Magician will perform Sunday and Monday at the Wayne Bank Stage on Adams Avenue at Spruce Street. Juggler Robert Smith will entertain on the square Saturday at the Fidelity Bank Stage and the picnic area on Linden Street, and Presto Pete and Incredulous Chris will perform kid-friendly magic on Linden Street on Saturday and Sunday.
Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run/
1-Mile Walk
On Saturday at 10 a.m., the annual James R. Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run/1-Mile Walk steps off. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. at North Washington Avenue and Linden Street. Proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club of NEPA’s Christmas party and college scholarships. For more information or to sign up, visit lafestaitaliana.org or runsignup.com.
Mass
Continuing a tradition, Mass will be celebrated in Italian on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. It will take place at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, 330 Wyoming Ave., since St. Peter’s Cathedral is undergoing construction.
More activities
Steamtown National Historic Site will hold its annual Railfest on Saturday and Sunday. Free trolley bus shuttles will run to Steamtown and from Wyoming Avenue and Linden Street during the park’s operating hours.
Street closures and parking
Five parking garages close to the festival will have a special weekend parking rate of $5 per day for La Festa patrons.
The festival will affect traffic surrounding Courthouse Square on Friday, Sunday and Monday. Staring Friday at 4 p.m., North Washington Avenue will close from Mulberry to Spruce streets, Spruce Street will close from Jefferson to North Washington avenues, and the 500 block of Linden Street will close. The 400 block of Linden Street will be open to allow people access to the parking garage and also be available as a space where people with disabilities can be dropped off. One lane of Adams Avenue will remain open to traffic.

One last time Motionless in White returns to hometown with final Warped Tour

One last time Motionless in White returns to hometown with final Warped Tour

As the Vans Warped Tour makes its final full run across the country, fans and musicians come together to celebrate the end of the alternative music festival.
For Northeast Pennsylvania-born metalcore band Motionless in White, a stop in its hometown makes the already poignant tour bittersweet. During a recent phone interview from Charlotte, North Carolina, lead singer Chris “Motionless” Cerulli credited Warped Tour with being the band’s launching point.
“It’s absolutely one of the biggest parts of our story over the past 13 years,” said Cerulli, a Pittston native. “I kind of feel like, without Warped Tour, I’m not really sure the band would have achieved the level of success (it has). That’s amazing to us to be part of the last Warped Tour … (to) help say goodbye to the tour and show our appreciation.”
Motionless in White, along with more than 70 other acts, will storm the Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Thursday, July 26. Gates open at 12:30 p.m., and set times will be announced that day. Tickets start at $45 and are available through the box office and livenation.com

Before Motionless in White won the chance to play at Warped Tour in 2008 through a Battle of the Bands, Cerulli and fellow band members played at area venues including the Staircase, Cafe Metropolis and Jessup Sports Dome.
During the band’s two-week stint on Warped Tour 10 years ago, a member of another band on the tour offered to manage the group and introduced it to a record label. Since then, Motionless in White has recorded four full-length albums; toured the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia; and signed to Roadrunner Records.
Coming home means a lot to the band. Cerulli recalled the 2016 Warped Tour as the largest crowd the band has ever played to in Scranton. Fans packed the area in front of the stage and were incredibly welcoming, he said. While some fans sang along to every word, others held up signs that read, “Welcome Home” and “570” — the name of a Motionless in White song dedicated its to roots.
“Playing ‘570’ to the Scranton Warped Tour was one of the most insane moments to me,” Cerulli said. “A top moment of my career for sure.”
As for the upcoming Scranton stop, Cerulli noted many friends and family members will attend. That combined with playing for fans will create a memorable experience.
“(The Scranton crowd) will probably see a grown man cry for a few minutes,” Cerulli said, laughing. “I know that it’s going to be [an] insane, overwhelming combining of emotions. Playing [‘570’] will be one of the hardest songs to get through that we’ve ever, ever performed live.”
When Warped Tour ends, Cerulli said, the band plans to take the rest of the year off to focus on writing and recording a new album. With everything on the horizon, Cerulli feels humbled to look back at the band’s roots. Playing the final Warped Tour in its hometown is a perfect way to do that.
“We’re grateful to play to fans new and old and grateful to be given this chance,” he said. “We’re proud to be from this area and spread the word about the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.”

Jam camp Festival opens season at Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Jam camp Festival opens season at Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Camp Bisco music festival features acts ranging from EDM to jam music to hip-hop to rock.
Started in the late ’90s as the brainchild of the Disco Biscuits, a Philadelphia-born jam band, Bisco found a home in Northeast Pennsylvania in 2015. The festival returns to the Pavilion at Montage Mountain from Thursday, July 12, to Saturday, July 14.
The event continues to grow with thousands of music festival lovers — called “festies” — descending on the mountain each year to dance, sing, meet friends and share in a love of live music. Electric City put together a handy guide to the sights, sounds and tastes of Camp Bisco.

The essentials
Camp Bisco is a three-day long music festival at 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton. Guests with RV passes may arrive Wednesday, July 11, at 4 p.m. Those with VIP camping parking passes can arrive at 8 p.m., and all other guests may arrive at 10 p.m. Single-day passes start at $90.50 for Friday or Saturday. Three-day passes start at $249.50 for general admission and $549.50 for VIP. Camp Bisco guests must be 18 or older with a valid ID.
Camp Bisco takes place rain or shine, so guests should come prepared with sunscreen, bug spray, rain gear, extra clothes and shoes, mud boots, hats for shade and factory-sealed water bottles.

What Camp Bisco provides
There will be refillable water stations on festival and camping grounds, as well as phone-charging stations, ATMs and 24-hour medical service and on-site emergency personnel. Camp Bisco’s General Store also will be stocked with essential items festival-goers may need, including soda, water and ice. Cases of beer also will be available for purchase by those 21 or older.

Fuel up
Dancing to live music works up an appetite, and Camp Bisco fans can grab food and drink at dozens of concession and vendor stands across the festival grounds. There will be typical concert hand-held foods plus some festival and carnival favorites and produce from farmer’s markets. Vegetarian options will be available as well. Guests also can cool off with a variety of beverages from mixed drinks to craft, imported and domestic beers for those 21 and older to soda, water and more.

The music

MIKE RYAN / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Electronic rock jam band Lotus will perform during Camp Bisco music festival at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain, which runs from Thursday, July 13, through Saturday, July 15.

More than 50 acts will perform during Camp Bisco, including five sets from the Disco Biscuits across three days.
The music kicks off Thursday at 3:30 p.m. with performances from Tipper, Bonobo, STS9, Boogie T, Boombox, Buku, G Jones, Jai Wolf, Lettuce, Snails, Ducky, Kidswaste, Naughty Professor, Space Bacon and Squnto (Megachop).
On Friday and Saturday, music begins at 10:30 a.m. Friday will include performances from Bassnectar, Lotus, 12th Planet, Anna Lunde, Desert Dwellers, the Floozies featuring Terminus Horns, the Funk Hunters, Papadosio, Quinn XCII, Space Jesus, Sunsquabi, Bass Physics, Bluetech, Cofreshi, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, the Hip Abduction, King Fu, Let’s Danza!, Mungion and Yheti.
On Saturday, crowds can catch sets from Excision, Illenium, Big Wild, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ghostface Killah, Liquid Stranger, Mija B2B Justin Jay, Oliver Tree, Space Jesus (Downtempo), Tauk, Zion I x Lespecial, Agent Zero, Flamingosis, Horizon Wireless, Magic Beans, Orchard Lounge, Probcause and Zeke Beats.
Schedule, set times and lineup are subject to change. For updated set times, fans can download the Camp Bisco mobile app for Apple and Android.

Sights and sounds of summer

Sights and sounds of summer

Season filled with activities of all kinds

When the weather heats up in Northeast Pennsylvania, events stay cool. Weekend Times gathered all the fun around the region this summer, from theater to festivals to family-friendly events.

Theater
All the region’s a stage this summer with performances of musicals, plays and revues. Head to the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, 537 N. Main St., to see “Harvey,” from Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17; “Seussical the Musical Jr.,” from Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29; and “Seussical the Musical,” from Friday, Sept. 7, through Sunday, Sept. 16.
Clocktower Theater Co. presents “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” featuring West Scranton native Jessica Cadden Osborne on Saturday, June 16, at the Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton, while Gaslight Theatre Company presents “The Taming of the Shrew” from Friday, June 22, through Saturday, June 30, at 200 East End Centre, Wilkes-Barre Twp.
“Showstoppers Cabaret” takes the stage Friday, June 22, through Sunday, June 24, at Diva Theater at Olde Brick Theatre, 126 W. Market St., Scranton, and Gamut Theatre presents its Shakespeare in the Park edition of “Macbeth” on Saturday, June 23, at Tunkhannock Riverside Park, Route 29. Scranton Shakespeare Festival takes over the city with “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” from Thursday, June 28, through Sunday, July 1, and Friday, July 27, at the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton; “The Tempest & Sycorax,” Friday, July 6, through Sunday, July 8, and Saturday, July 28; “Hansel & Gretel,” on Saturdays, July 7 and 14; “As You Like It,” from Friday, July 13, through Sunday, July 15, and Sunday, July 29; and “Footloose,” from Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22, and Sunday, July 29, all at Scranton Preparatory School, 1000 Wyoming Ave.

Nightlife 
There are plenty of places to have fun throughout the region once the sun goes down. Have a laugh this summer at “Summer Yuk Yuks: A Night of Comedy” on Saturday, June 16, at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave. Check out comedy shows Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Wise Crackers Comedy Club inside Seasons Ballroom at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp., and at Comedy open mic night Tuesdays at Hammerjax Bar & Grill, 350 Phillips Road, Clifton Twp. For fun, just add water at Adult Swim Night on Wednesdays, June 20 and July 18, at Montage Mountain Resorts, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton. Also, sneak a peek at the legendary male revue, “Chippendales: About Last Night,” when it storms Keystone Grand Ballroom at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Friday, July 27.

Family
Family fun is everywhere this summer. Artists of all ages and abilities can express themselves during Art in the Park events Tuesday, July 10, at Merli-Sarnoski Park, Greenfield Twp.; Tuesday, July 17, at Covington Park, Covington Twp.; and Tuesday, July 24, at Aylesworth Park, Jermyn. Head inside for an immersive art experience, Arts Engage, on Tuesday, July 31, at Electric City Trolley Museum, 300 Cliff St., Scranton.
Get ready to rumble at WWE “SmackDown Live!” on Tuesday, July 17, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp., and let your imagination run wild during the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders’ Princess & Pirate Night on Friday, July 27; “The Sandlot” Night on Saturday, July 28; and Superhero Night on Friday, Aug. 17, all at PNC Field, 235 Montage Mountain Road, Moosic.
Catch a family-friendly movie outside during Scranton Tomorrow’s Drive-In Downtown on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square during July and August, and charge full steam ahead into Steamtown National Historic Site, Lackawanna Avenue at Cliff Street, Scranton for its annual Railfest on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2.

Festivals 

Nothing says Northeast Pennsylvania like a summer festival. Some already began, but you can head to St. John the Evangelist Parish Flea Market at St. Mary Magdalene Church Basement, 416 Church St., Honesdale, from Thursday, June 14, through Saturday, June 16. Next up is the Mary, Mother of God Parish at Holy Rosary Church Block Party, West Market Street and Wayne Avenue, Scranton, from Thursday, June 21, through Saturday, June 23; Tunkhannock Founders Day, Tioga Street, on Saturday, June 23; Elmhurst/Roaring Brook Volunteer Fire Company annual Picnic, 245 Blue Shutters Road, Elmhurst Twp., from Wednesday, June 27, through Saturday, June 30; St. Patrick’s Parish Summer Festival, 1403 Jackson St., Scranton, on Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14; Christ the King Parish Picnic, Betty and Main streets, Eynon, from Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29; St. Joseph’s Summer Festival, Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29, at Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton; Lackawanna Arts Weekend, which combines the First Friday Art Walk, Scranton Jazz Festival and Lackawanna Arts Festival at various venues in downtown Scranton from Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5; SS. Anthony and Rocco Italian Festival at St. Rocco’s Church, 122 Kurtz St., Dunmore, from Friday, Aug. 10, through Sunday, Aug. 12; St. John Vianney Barbecue at St. Pius X Church, 3615 Route 106, Clifford Twp., on Saturday, Aug. 11; Rock Lake Picnic at St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 2048 Creamton Drive, Pleasant Mount, on Saturday, Aug. 18; and La Festa Italiana on Courthouse Square, Scranton, from Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3.

Film
To beat the heat, head inside a cool, dark movie theater such as Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock, which will host its Summer Film Festival from Friday, July 13, through Thursday, Aug. 2 (a preview day takes place Thursday, June 28). Take a trip down memory lane with the “Before the Kirby Was the Kirby” monthly Friday film series at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre.

Hot spots- Iron pours, exhibits and more planned around gathering

Hot spots- Iron pours, exhibits and more planned around gathering

Strike while the iron’s hot over five days in Northeast Pennsylvania.
International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, or ICCCIA, makes itself at home at various sites throughout the region for Fire at the Furnace Week from Monday, May 28, through Saturday, June 2. Dozens of activities, exhibitions, demonstrations and more will take place around the region that focus on the historical, cultural and technical influence of cast iron. Most events are free.
Weekend Times ironed out the details about the places and events of ICCCIA.
The conference
ICCCIA provides a chance for professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts to meet, learn and work with other iron artists and workers through panels, conferences, networking events and demonstrations. Keynote speaker Carolyn Ottmers, a nationally recognized artist and educator, will address the crowd Wednesday, May 30, at 8 p.m. at Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, 700 Lackawanna Ave. For a full list of conference events or to register, visit icccia.com.

Art
Outdoor exhibits
 “Digital Iron,” features student and faculty works produced among Alfred University, National Casting Center and East Stroudsburg University; opening reception, Tuesday, May 29, 3 to 4 p.m., Dansbury Depot, 5 S. Kistler St., East Stroudsburg.
 “Confluence” outdoor sculpture exhibition, large iron sculptures installed at several sites along Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, Tuesday, May 29, through May 30, 2019; opening reception, Thursday, May 31, 12:30 to 2 p.m., Love Road at West Olive Street, Scranton
Participating art galleries
A gallery tour coinciding with the opening receptions will take place Thursday, May 31, beginning at Linder Gallery, Keystone College, La Plume, at 4 p.m.
 “Data Dreams and Improbable Objects,” exhibit transforms conceptual data forms into tangible sculptures; through July 6, Linder Gallery, Keystone College, 1 La Plume Road, La Plume; opening reception, Thursday, May 31, 4 to 5 p.m.
 “New Frontiers,” juried exhibition emphasizes the idea of time, travel, movement, place, space and connections; Monday, May 28, through Monday, Sept. 3, Everhart Museum, 1901 Mulberry St., Scranton; opening reception, Thursday, May 31, 5:15 to 6 p.m.
 “Intent: A Tool Show,” highlights tools and materials used to create sculptures such as jigs, patterns, ideas, software and tools; Monday, May 28, through Saturday, June 30, Suraci Gallery at Marywood University, Scranton; opening reception, Thursday, May 31, 6 to 7 p.m.
 “Transformed: Digital to Corporeal,” features works created with digital fabrication techniques such as 3-D scanning, 3-D printing, CNC Milling and robotics; Monday, May 28, through Saturday, June 30, Kresge Gallery at Marywood University, Scranton; opening reception, Thursday, May 31, 6 to 7 p.m.
 “Ferrous Wheel,” features works by ICCCIA steering committee; Monday, May 28, through Saturday, June 30, Mahady Gallery at Marywood University, Scranton; opening reception, Thursday, May 31, 6 to 7 p.m.
 “Partners in Process,” curated works from the Maslow Collection that reflect conference theme; Monday, May 28, through Saturday, June 30, Maslow Study Gallery for Contemporary Art at Marywood University, Scranton; opening reception, Thursday, May 31, 6 to 7 p.m.
 “Liquid Earth,” Hope Horn Gallery at Hyland Hall, University of Scranton; opening reception, Thursday, May 31, 7 to 8 p.m.
Luzerne County galleries
A morning gallery trip to Avoca and Wilkes-Barre exhibits begins Saturday, June 2, at 10 a.m.
 “Iron Maidens II: Made in Wales,” works by female iron sculptors, through June 3, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, 100 Terminal Road, Avoca
 “Solid Gone,” works by 42 international artists whose work addresses impermanence, through Aug. 4, Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes University, 141 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre; opening reception, Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. to noon
Travel events
 Ferrous Flyer train tour, Tuesday, May 29; departs at noon from Scranton; stops in Gouldsboro, Cresco and East Stroudsburg before arriving back in Scranton at 7:30 p.m.; features cast iron performances, food and beverages.
 Bethlehem day trip, Friday, June 1; departs at 9 a.m. from Radission at Lackawanna Station hotel; arrives between 10:30 and 11 a.m. at National Museum of Industrial History and includes tours of industrial sites around city and lunch; returns to Radisson at 4 p.m.
For tickets or more information, visit icccia.com.
First Friday
These events will take place Friday, June 1, as part of Scranton’s First Friday Art Walk, which starts at 5 p.m.
 “Burst Mode: Photography and Iron,” second floor, AFA Galley, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
 “That’s What She Said,” first floor, AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
 “Traces of Beauty: Mark Making with Iron,” Marquis Art and Frame, 515 Center St.
 “The Days of Ore,” Camerawork Gallery, 515 Center St.
 “Size Matters,” conference headquarters, Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave.
 “Ef (Fe) ct,” conference headquarters, Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave.
 “The Railroad Exhibition,” Steamtown National Historic Site, 350 Cliff St.
 “On Track,” Steamtown National Historic Site, 350 Cliff St.
 “Temple of the Heart & River of Iron” film screening, Steamtown National Historic Site, 350 Cliff St.
 “Behind the Conference,” exhibition of previous and current ICCCIA conference chairs, Bogart Court, 518 Lackawanna Ave.
Live iron pours
 Dansbury Depot, 5 E. Kistler St., East Stroudsburg, Tuesday, May 29, 3 p.m.
 Gouldsboro Train Station, 543 Main St., Tuesday, May 29, 5:30 p.m.
 Bogart Court, 518 Lackawanna Ave., Friday, June 1, 6 to 8 p.m.
 Scranton Iron Furnaces, 159 Cedar Ave., Tuesday, May 29, 8 p.m.; Wednesday, May 30, 9:30 p.m.; Friday, June 1, 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, June 2, 8 to 10 p.m.

A new day Scranton Tomorrow celebrating 25th anniversary with party

A new day Scranton Tomorrow celebrating 25th anniversary with party

If Scranton looks different than it did 25 years ago, Scranton Tomorrow has something to do with that.
The nonprofit group — which partners with organizations, businesses and volunteers throughout the city to work as a catalyst for change — celebrates its silver anniversary this year.
To mark the occasion, a cocktail party and celebration will take place tonight, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at POSH at the Scranton Club, 404 N. Washington Ave. Tickets are $50 and are for sale in advance online at scrantontomorrow.org and at the door.
“It’s a way to come out for everything that’s grown and changed in the city in the past 25 years,” said Laurie Cadden, who co-chairs the event with Randy Williams. “It’s going to be a fabulous night.”
The night will include a short program and honor past volunteers. Cocktail hour runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and then gourmet dinner stations will open from 7 to 9. Guests can enjoy an open bar and entertainment by Picture Perfect Singers and DJ Edwin.
The organization has a lot to celebrate, noted board member and past president Andrea Mulrine. Scranton Tomorrow started in 1992 to implement and develop initiatives to make the city a better place to live, work and enjoy, she said. For more than 20 years, the organization acted as a liaison between downtown businesses and the city.
The creation of public access channel ECTV continues to be a paramount moment in Scranton Tomorrow’s history, Mulrine said, as it made local government proceedings available to everyone. 
The group also is responsible for implementing dozens of initiatives, such as facade grants to local business Horizon Dental, the annual CityPride cleanup, maintenance of planters and street islands, and relighting the Electric City sign atop Electric Building (with the help of UNICO Scranton, which supplied the bulbs).
Scranton Tomorrow’s events include the Downtown Drive-In Movie Series on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, the Holiday Window Showcase, Winter in the City cocktail parties, Small Business Saturday, Scranton’s 150th Birthday Celebration and the original First Night, a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration.
Incoming president and city business owner Joshua Mast said Scranton Tomorrow’s role in driving people downtown for events and activities makes up part of its mission.
“We want people to come into downtown and know there’s always something going on, that it’s safe and that they can have a great, fun night in Scranton,” said Mast, a longtime board member. “Downtown should be a destination for everyone, and Scranton Tomorrow, along with its partnerships, have continued to do that.”
While the night looks back on the past 25 years, it also celebrates the future, with Scranton Tomorrow taking on a new role as the city’s downtown economic development partner.
The first initiative in its goal of creating a Business Improvement District is transforming a vacant lot at Wyoming Avenue and Linden Street into a pocket park. Scranton Tomorrow will partner with local organizations and government on the project.
“This organization has evolved — and continues to evolve — due to this community’s support and our great partnerships with businesses and organizations,” executive director Leslie Collins said. “Now, as (Scranton Tomorrow) assumes our new role, we’re all working toward the same goal. … It’s like we have a new energy. This is an exciting time for us.”

Makeup the difference – You don’t have to be Irish to wear these Parade Day looks

Makeup the difference – You don’t have to be Irish to wear these Parade Day looks

On Scranton’s most festive occasion, it’s all about the wearing o’ the green from head to toe.
Weekend Times focuses on the former with Parade Day makeup looks.
Keiera Kisel, makeup artist and owner of KeieraLanay MUA in Archbald, gave tips on how to stand out in a sea of green on Parade Day.
Find inspiration
From clover green and the colors of the Irish flag to shimmering gold or a bright rainbow, possibilities for Parade Day makeup looks are endless.
To find ideas, look no further than social media. Use hashtags on Instagram or keywords on YouTube to search for tutorials from all over the globe. Also, a trial-run beforehand is a must.
Delicate or dramatic
Whether going big or going small with your makeup, you don’t have to be blah when expressing “Erin Go Bragh.”
Keep it simple by focusing on a single area to go all out, Kisel suggested. Whether it be a dramatic eye or a bright lip, keep the rest of the face basic.
If you don’t want to go too far with your look, Kisel suggested subtle looks to celebrate Parade Day. A simple pop of color or glitter along the crease of your eye or a bright green lip can go a long way. 
Whatever you choose, let your imagination take over.
Live in color
Whether serious or subtle, color is everything for Parade Day makeup looks.
Kisel suggested using highly pigmented eyeshadows to create looks. Makeup Geek eyeshadows in shades of green such as Fuji, Shimmermint, Limelight, Voodoo and Jester can be worn on the eyelid for full color, or smudged under the lash line for a subtle pop of color.
Liquid lipsticks — cropping up in beauty shops and drugstores alike in funkier colors — also make for long-lasting, waterproof pigments to use on skin.
Besides pigments, gems, glitter, stickers and stencils are your best tools for taking your look to the next level, Kisel said.
Can’t find the right shade of green lipstick for a Parade Day pout? Create your own. Mix green eyeshadow with petroleum jelly for a custom shade.
Make it last
A good base and a good finish make all the difference. For the best results, use makeup primer to fill in pores, lines and creases and help makeup or paint go on smoother.
On the eyes, start with a primer before you lay down your pigment, Kisel said.
“This ensures colors won’t crease, blend effortlessly and remain vibrant throughout the day,” she said, suggesting a soft, long-wear primer such as MAC Soft Ochre Paint Pot to keep shadow in place.
To ensure your look stays put, set anything liquid- or cream-based with a translucent powder or, for more vibrancy, use eyeshadow.
Take it off
After a day of shamrocks and shenanigans, it’s important to safely and correctly remove the makeup just as carefully as you applied it.
“Removing your makeup at the end of the night is just as important if not more than the actual final look you want to achieve,” Kisel said.
The makeup artist suggested Estée Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover to take away powder eyeshadow and other eye makeup without oily residue. For a handheld option, try Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes to erase any trace of eye and face makeup.

SNOW DATE  ALT 92.1’s show storms into F.M. Kirby Center with homegrown talent

SNOW DATE ALT 92.1’s show storms into F.M. Kirby Center with homegrown talent

In her teens, Brianna Collins sang along to Dashboard Confessional’s impassioned lyrics and felt moved by the band’s stirring melodies.
This weekend, Collins, along with fellow Tigers Jaw band member Ben Walsh, will share a stage with Dashboard Confessional during the inaugural ALT 92.1 Snow Show.
The show takes place Sunday, Jan. 28, at 6:15 p.m. at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. Tickets to the Times-Shamrock Communications radio station’s concert are $20 to $35 general admission or $92.10 for VIP and Meet and Greet. Tickets can be purchased at kirbycenter.org.
In addition to Dashboard Confessional and Scranton-borne Tigers Jaw, acts on the show also include indie pop band AJR and one-man project SYML.
Dashboard Confessional’s music became synonymous with young love and heartbreak in the 2000s, thanks to its songs — including “Hands Down” and “Vindicated” — appearing on teen TV dramas and movie soundtracks of the time. Walsh became friends with Dashboard’s Chris Carrabba some years ago, Collins said, but this is Tiger Jaw’s first time performing on the same bill as the band.
“It’s just very cool to play with a band you grew up listening to that still makes great music,” Collins said during a recent phone interview from her home in Kingston. “To do it in Wilkes-Barre and have that be a hometown show, that makes it even better.” 
Though Tigers Jaw is based out of the region, the band tours throughout the country and parts of the world. Aside from the annual NEPA Holiday Show with fellow natives the Menzingers, Collins said she and Walsh don’t get the chance to play to their hometown crowd often.
“I’m just excited to play the Kirby Center,” she said. “It’s nice to play at a venue that’s literally across the bridge from where I live.”
Tigers Jaw released their fifth studio album “Spin” last spring, which Collins said, after lineup changes, is the first that only included she and Walsh. They’re eager to play songs from their new album, she said, but the band also doesn’t want to disappoint those who enjoy their earlier music. Fans can expect a good mix of both old and new at the Kirby Center stop.
“We’re overall just ecstatic to have new music out and play shows and play the news songs,” Collins said, adding “Spin” also marks the first album she wrote for. “That’s always fun and special to get to do.”
After their hometown gig, Tigers Jaw will get ready to embark on a European tour. When not touring, Collins said she and Walsh (who lives in Philadelphia) are typically working on things to promote the band, which doesn’t allow for much downtime.
Their hard work pays off, however, as fans all over the world who enjoy the band’s melodic indie punk. Collins also recalled her brother, a local high school teacher, told her he notices his students wearing Tigers Jaw merchandise, which makes her happy.
“This is or full time job,” she said. “We’re living our dreams.”
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If you go
What: ALT 92.1 Snow Show featuring Dashboard Confessional, Tigers Jaw, AJR and SYML
When: Sunday, Jan. 28, 5 p.m. doors open, 6:15 p.m. show starts
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Details: Tickets are $20 to $35 general admission or $92.10 for VIP and Meet and Greet. Tickets can be purchased at kirbycenter.org.

American dream  Tony winner, Hamilton’s Odom brings smooth, crisp sound to Wyoming Seminary stage

American dream Tony winner, Hamilton’s Odom brings smooth, crisp sound to Wyoming Seminary stage

Leslie Odom Jr. follows his passion. The man is non-stop.
The Tony Award-winning performer has been on a whirlwind since he rose to fame as Aaron Burr in hip-hop Broadway musical juggernaut “Hamilton.” Odom earned critical acclaim and several accolades including a Tony Award, for his portrayal of the charismatic, vulnerable and complicated founding father.
When he left the show in 2016, Odom kept pushing further, pursuing a solo career and touring to spread his love of performing to fans around the country.
He brings his multifaceted solo show to the area on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m. when he performs at Wyoming Seminary’s Kirby Center for Creative Arts, 260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston.
“I’m kind of lucky I get to bring as much of myself in able to into the work,” Odom said during a recent phone interview, enroute to travel from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. “It’s all deeply personal to me, touring and connecting with fans in a more open way. … I’m up there telling the stories about my life and singing songs I love.”
Since 2016, Odom put out two albums: a self-titled work of jazz standards, showtunes and originals he released just before his exit from Broadway and “Simply Christmas,” which is full the performer’s crisp, smooth take on seasonal classics.
These works can be expected during his stop in Kingston, but Odom promised fans that’s not all. He doesn’t believe in people leaving disappointed after a concert and will perform some songs from “Hamilton” plus selections from other work he’s known for, including NBC’s musical television show “Smash.”
Many of these songs take on different meanings for Odom during his concerts. When performing “Hamilton” songs, like “Dear Theodosia,” a ballad Burr and Hamilton sing about their children, or “Wait For It,” on Burr’s undying determination, he’s singing these as himself, which transports the music into a different realm.
“Songs from the show are really nice to perform out of context,” he explained. “Bringing it in to a concert, you get to color outside the lines. Some songs take on new meaning when it’s not Aaron Burr singing it.”
In between making music and touring, Odom’s kept busy acting, like appearing in last year’s “Murder on the Orient Express” alongside Daisy Ridley, and continues to pursue different avenues. His book, “Failing Up” is due out in March and is written in the style of a commencement speech. The narrative details how Odom’s greatest successes came from his greatest risks and how he allowed himself to be open to defeat.
“The better part of it is the story of how everything in my life turned around the first time I gave myself permission to fail,” he said. 
Odom worked as an actor on stage and television before landing his big break but admits it was a challenge. He kept working toward his goal and what made him feel alive but success didn’t happen immediately.
“That can be the biggest eye roll, ‘Yeah, but you had ‘Hamilton,’ but I didn’t know that seven or eight years ago, struggling, trying to get jobs,” Odom said with a laugh. “I didn’t know that the role of a lifetime would come to me. I was just following my passion and my heart. … and eventually found my way to ‘Hamilton.’”
Odom’s advice to young people finding their path echoes his own life. He encourages anyone to surround themselves with what makes them happiest. Whether it be a career in performing arts, math or medicine, keep moving toward it and be open to where it takes you.
“Read about, talk about it, learn as much as you can about it. Follow your passion and those things will love you back,” he said. “Keep walking toward those things that light you up. … I didn’t know take this step, then take this step. I just loved it, you know? I loved it and found a way to dream myself into the world I loved so much.”
Odom took the holidays to unplug and clear his mind and is coming into the new year feeling refreshed, focused and balanced. He’s ready to continue to challenge himself and to reach as many people as he can through his passion.
“(It’s) the fact that I got to express myself in such a way that felt total and complete and now get to sort of be the architect of the rest of my journey and go where my inspiration leads,” he said. “It’s that I get to go around the country and meet fans and people who didn’t have a chance to see the show and some that may never get to go to New York (City) to see the show. We get to bring it to them.”

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If you go
What: Sem Presents! featuring Leslie Odom Jr.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wyoming Seminary’s Kirby Center for Creative Arts, 260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston
Details: Tickets are $35-$70 and can be purchased online at wyomingseminary.org/arts/sempresents.

Tunkhannock native shoots for stars on  ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Tunkhannock native shoots for stars on ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Like many 20-somethings, Adam Spott works several jobs.
The Tunkhannock native living in Santa Monica, California, acts and models, appearing in short films and print campaigns. And with Circle 8 Productions, Spott also works on the production side of things, including lifestyle TV shows in the Los Angeles area.
Though, TV viewers might know him from his side gig as a bartender at West Hollywood hot spot SUR restaurant and lounge, the setting for Bravo reality show “Vanderpump Rules.”
Named for SUR owner and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Lisa Vanderpump, the show, now in its sixth season, follows the lives of the staff members as they build their futures. Spott said many service industry workers in Los Angeles are aspiring actors, models, singers, writers and directors, and “Vanderpump Rules” follows cast members outside of work as well. There, relationships between employees and staff members often come to a head.
“They definitely picked a good (main) crew to follow if they wanted drama,” Spott said, laughing, during a recent phone interview. “It’s always entertaining, that’s for sure.” 
Spott’s first foray in the service industry came far away from the cameras and lights. As a teenager in Wyoming County, Spott worked at StoneHedge Golf Course in Factoryville and went on to nab jobs and internships at other country clubs, including Glen Oak County Club in Clarks Summit.
A 2007 graduate of Lackawanna Trail Junior-Senior High School, Spott headed to Florida State University to pursue a degree in hospitality management. In Florida, Spott waited tables, bartended and worked other jobs throughout college. He also interned at The Club at Las Camapnas in New Mexico in supervisor positions.
“I always wanted to work in the service industry (and) wanted to do that kind of work,” Spott said.
After college, Spott bounced around the southeast, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Orlando and, finally, Atlanta, where he worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative. When a regional magazine picked him as one of Atlanta’s most eligible bachelors, an Atlanta-based modeling agency approached him about signing a contract, and he started to book print and commercial work.
Soon after, Spott signed with modeling agency Wilhelmina Models nationally and knew he wanted to make the leap to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
“I figured I always wanted to be out here, and if there was ever a time to go after what I wanted to do, might as well strike while the iron was hot,” he said. “That’s more or less what sent me 3,000 miles across the country.”
Los Angeles’ schedule was a shock to Spott. For someone aiming for a career in the entertainment industry, no work is guaranteed, and Spott quickly had to find a different way to make money with the flexibility to pursue his dream.
“I was so set in a 9-to-5 (schedule), being on salary; that career path was what I was used to,” he said. “I learned pretty quick how expensive (the cost of living is), how people have so many different avenues of income. I needed a part-time job, with the ups and downs of modeling and acting.”
Spott said he didn’t know what “Vanderpump Rules” was initially, but he was aware of SUR and was confident in his service experience to apply to be a bartender. He was selected and sent to bartending classes in the city to hone his skills. He began as a barback and worked his way up to bartender after a few months.
His position at SUR placed him in good company to further his entertainment career, too. Spott’s good friend and fellow employee (and original cast member of “Vanderpump Rules”), Scheana Marie, introduced Spott to his gig with the production company. Restaurant staff know Vanderpump encourages her employees to pursue careers outside of SUR. 
“She’s always looking out for you, and she knows how difficult it can be to move to a city like L.A. with no connections,” Spott said. “She always has her employees’ best interests in mind. She’s very intimidating, and she will tell you to button up your shirt and stand up straight, but she is one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met.”

Adam Spott, with SUR owner Lisa Vanderpump, called his boss one of the most “intimidating yet kindhearted” people he’s ever met.

As a popular Los Angeles hotspot, SUR is a hub for power players in the entertainment industry. This atmosphere offers employees the chance to make connections and advance their careers.
“You meet so many people in the entertainment industry,” Spott said. “That’s what so cool about here. You can shake the right hand, and the next thing you know, you’re working your dream job.”
Pursuing a career in acting or another sector of the entertainment industry can be draining, but Spott attributes his drive to his parents, Sandra Spott and Matthew Spott, and his hometown.
“I love where I was born and raised. That will always be home to me,” he said. “It’s rare to have a blue-collar work ethic in a place like L.A. I am very grateful for that.”
Spott acknowledged that sometimes those who live in small towns find it hard to leave to pursue their dreams. While Spott, who loves to be in front of the camera and hopes to make it to the movie screen someday, set his sights on big dreams in big cities, he knows his small-town roots imparted in him the determination to get there.
“There was a quote I saw, and it always resonated with me: ‘I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night,’” he said. “If you want something so bad and you love it, you can’t be afraid of failure. You can always go home, in my opinion. There’s nothing to be scared of.”

 

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Meet Adam Spott 
Residence: Originally from Tunkhannock, Spott lives in Santa Monica, California.
Family: Parents, Sandra Spott, Factoryville, and Matthew Spott, Tunkhannock; brother, Matthew and wife, DeAnna, Philadelphia
Education: Graduate of Lackawanna Trail Junior-Senior High School and Florida State University
Claim to fame: An actor and model, Spott also works in the service industry and is featured on this season of Bravo reality show “Vanderpump Rules.”

If you watch
What: “Vanderpump Rules,” featuring Tunkhannock native Adam Spott
When and where: Mondays, 9 p.m., on Bravo

Year Ahead

Year Ahead

Festivals
Whether for food or fun, a number of festivals take place around the region each year. Enjoy the wonders of the Lackawanna River during Shiverfest on Saturday, Jan. 13, then head to Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock, for two film festivals featuring foreign, independent and art films. Winter Fest runs Friday, Feb. 16, through Thursday, March 8, and the Spring Film Festival then takes place Friday, April 13, through Thursday, May 3, with special activities on each opening night. There will be special previews on Thursday, Feb. 1, and Thursday, March 29, and free post-festival discussions Friday, March 9, and Friday, May 4.
Join one of the biggest events in downtown Wilkes-Barre, the annual Fine Arts Fiesta on Public Square, in May. Celebrate a Midvalley tradition, St. Ubaldo Day and Race of the Saints, in Jessup over Memorial Day weekend.
The region celebrates its love of food with the annual Edwardsville Pierogi Festival, June 8 and 9, Plymouth’s annual Kielbasa Festival, held the second weekend of August, while the Pittston Tomato Festival takes place the third weekend in August.
Labor Day weekend offers the chance to commemorate the area’s rich locomotive history during Railfest at Steamtown National Historic Site and its Italian heritage at La Festa Italiana on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square.

Kids and family
Children can learn through a series of free stage shows geared toward grades three to eight at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Public Square, Wilkes-Barre: “Four Score and Seven Years Ago” on Wednesday, Feb. 21; “Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad” on Friday, March 16; and “Huck & Tom and the Mighty Mississippi” on Tuesday, April 24. The Kirby Center also will host family-friendly fare such as “Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour” on Friday, April 27; animal expert Jack Hanna on Saturday, April 28; “Peppa Pig Live: Peppa Pig’s Surprise” on Tuesday, May 15; and the free “The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told” on Saturday, May 19.
At Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp., families can catch “Disney On Ice presents Dream Big” from Thursday, Jan. 11, through Monday, Jan. 15; AMSOIL Arenacross Series on Saturday, Jan. 20, and Sunday, Jan. 21; “WWE Live” on Friday, Jan. 26; Monster Jam Triple Threat Series from Friday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 11; the Harlem Globetrotters on Saturday, Feb. 24; and “Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes” from Thursday, May 3, through Sunday, May 6.
In Scranton, families can get into the Irish spirit with the city’s 57th annual St. Patrick’s Parade, set for Saturday, March 10, while Wilkes-Barre sees green with its parade on Sunday, March 11.

Theater
Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania has five more shows coming to Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., in the new year: “A Chorus Line,” Friday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, Feb. 25; “The Illusionists Present Adam Trent,” Friday, March 2; “Kinky Boots,” Friday, March 16, through Sunday, March 18; “Chicago,” Friday, April 13, through Sunday, April 15; and “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical,” Tuesday, May 8, through Sunday, May 13. Ticket costs vary. 
Five Broadway vocalists — Jeanna De Waal, Jennifer DiNoia, Kara Lindsay, Kevin Massey and Jon Peterson — will perform hits from throughout the Great White Way’s history on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton. “Broadway Spotlight,” also includes behind-the-scenes stories and a question-and-answer session.
At F.M. Kirby Center, theater fans will find “Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story on Stage” on Wednesday, Jan. 31 and Thursday, Feb. 1; “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” on Wednesday, Feb. 7; “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday, April 13; and “Cabaret” on Thursday, May 17.
The region’s numerous amateur and student theatrical troupes will present shows throughout the year as well.

Comedy
Laugh throughout the year with comedy events all over the region.
Residents have the chance to see Jim Breuer at Gypsies Lounge inside Mount Airy Casino, 312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono, Saturday, Jan. 13. Gypsies also hosts Bob Saget on Saturday, Feb. 3; Tracy Morgan Saturday, March 3; and Vic Dibitetto, Friday, April 6.
Breuer makes another stop in the area Wednesday, Feb. 28, at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, which then hosts “Blue Collar Comedy” star Ron White on Thursday, March 8. Jerry Seinfeld will deliver two performances there Friday, April 6.
Kevin Hart brings his Irresponsible Tour to the region Friday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Twp. Crowds also can catch live comedy shows weekends at Wisecrackers Comedy Club inside Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Highway 315, Plains Twp.

Concerts
Music fills Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton, through the summer, with Camp Bisco gliding into the venue Thursday, July 12, through Saturday, July 14, and Peach Music Festival hitting the mountain, Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22. Vans Warped Tour plays Scranton for the final time on Thursday, July 26, according to its website, although a venue was not announced. 
Mohegan Sun Arena also will host a couple big-name concerts, with country act Little Big Town, joined by Kacey Musgraves and Midland, coming Thursday, Feb. 22, and Judas Priest playing Tuesday, March 13.
Wyoming Seminary will host “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. for a concert Wednesday, Jan. 17, in its Kirby Center for the Creative Arts, 260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston.
At F.M. Kirby Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre, concert highlights include the inaugural Snow Show featuring Dashboard Confessional, presented by Alt 92.1 on Sunday, Jan. 28; Tedeschi Trucks Band, Thursday, Feb. 8; “American Idol” star Scotty McCreery, Saturday, Feb. 10; America, Thursday, Feb. 15; Blues Traveler, Wednesday, Feb. 28; Alice Cooper, Saturday, March 10; the Beach Boys, Saturday, March 24; Christopher Cross, Wednesday, April 4; the Drifters, Saturday, April 14; and Yanni, July 31.

By Gia Mazur and Caitlin Haney West

Annual Festival of Trees embraces 1920s theme

Annual Festival of Trees embraces 1920s theme

Branch out into the holidays with an exhibit that promises to be the bee’s knees.
The annual Festival of Trees exhibit kicks off this weekend with a Roaring ’20s theme, and people and groups from across the region decorated or created from scratch Christmas trees befitting of the Jazz Era.
This year’s exhibit runs from Friday, Dec. 8, through Friday, Jan. 12, in the former Abercrombie & Fitch store in the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.
Exhibit admission is free except during the Dec. 8 opening reception, which runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and costs $20. Guests can nibble on hors d’oeuvres and listen to music from Gypsy Jazz Quintet. Proceeds from the show and reception benefit the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
“It’s great that organizations, big and small, can come together for such a good cause and celebrate the season,” said Alysia Scazafabo, volunteer chairwoman of the festival. “Everyone gets the chance to come to the (marketplace) and see their creativity, too. This is a great event.”
Headed by Lackawanna County’s Office of Arts and Culture and its event-planning committee, lots of local organizations, volunteers and more all get together to brainstorm ideas and pull off this annual event, Scazafabo said. She described the 1920s as an important era of both social and political change and said organizers encouraged festival participants to use jazz, flappers, dance halls and speakeasies, Prohibition, airplanes, automobiles, film and more as inspiration from the pioneering decade.  
“The theme works out. Feedback has been great, and the trees so far has been pretty interesting,” Scazafabo said, adding that participants range from local schools to Leadership Lackawanna to women inmates of Lackawanna County Prison. “We crossed paths with some amazing people, and they’re very excited about the opportunity to show off their creativity.”
This year, guests can don their feathers, fringe, pinstripes and other pieces of ’20s fashion during the opening reception’s fancy dress contest. The winner will receive bragging rights as well as a $100 gift certificate for the Marketplace at Steamtown.
“It’s a fun excuse to get together and dress up,” Scazafabo said. “It will be exciting to see everyone dressed in that time period and embracing that style.”
Changing the theme each year adds a unique twist to keep an annual event like Festival of Trees fresh. Though, it’s participants’ imaginations that make the event a regional mainstay.
“The exhibit is about ‘Christmas trees,’ but some people are just so creative with how they interpret that along with the theme,” Scazafabo said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”
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If you go
What: Annual Festival of Trees
When: Friday, Dec. 8, through Friday, Jan. 12; opening reception and 1920s dress contest, Dec. 8, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave.
Details: Tickets for the opening reception are $20; admission for remaining dates is free. Proceeds benefit the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. A Toys for Tots drop-off box will be inside Electric City Trolley Museum, 300 Cliff St., Scranton, during its hours of operation.

Take home a local masterpiece  from Holiday Art Auction

Take home a local masterpiece from Holiday Art Auction

The community can bid on 32 pieces from regional artists in a variety of mediums at the annual Holiday Art Auction at AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
Set for Saturday, Nov. 18, with cocktails at 6 p.m. and the auction at 7, it serves as the gallery’s largest fundraiser.
Tickets are $25 and include refreshments, light fare from local restaurants and acoustic music by Rich Jenkins.
Artists donate each piece up for grabs. Committee chair Nikki Moser said this year features two surprise pieces that will be wrapped in brown paper and not revealed until after someone wins each. There also will be pieces from young artists and lower price points so new bidders can be brave and take a shot at winning.
Moser insisted that one of the most fun parts of the night is the bidding.
“It’s always fun when people come with a full table,” she said. “To see that dynamic and people encouraging each other to bid, it’s a great time.” 
Chances for this year’s featured raffle item, “Flower Child #8,” a hand-cut paper collage created by Paul Plumadore, are $2 each or three for $5 and are available at the gallery. Guests do not need to be at the event to win the raffle piece.
Moser said all of Plumadore’s pieces are more than meets the eye.
“He has such a delicate sort of touch in terms of putting images together,” Moser said. “They seem like one thing on the surface, and once you really investigate, you understand the intricacies of how they’re almost stitched together in this way.”
Guests also can bid on experiences, such as a print-making workshop with Mark Ciocca, a letterpress outing with the Workshop owner Chris Medley or special services from local nonprofits, the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society and American Wine Society. Moser said the experiences were popular among bidders last year, and the committee expanded on options this time around.
“It’s a way to bring people into the arts in a different way than choosing an object,” she said. “With these experiences, you can get out and see and do what lots of area arts have to offer.”
Each element of the holiday auction combines to offer something for all interests and tastes, which serves the true mission of the event: engagement between artists and guests.
“It’s great fun. This fundraiser keeps doors open for the year,” Moser said. “And we really do everything we can to ensure everyone — artists and guests — have a lovely evening.”

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If you go
What: Annual Holiday Art Auction
When: Saturday, Nov. 18; cocktails, 6 p.m.; auction, 7
Where: AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton
Details: Event tickets are $25 and include refreshments, light fare and entertainment. Reservations are strongly suggested; call 570-969-1040. Raffle tickets are $2 each or three for $5 and may be purchased up to the time the winner is announced. Proceeds benefit the gallery.

Curiosity Shoppers: Roller derby team welcomes community for oddities market and match

Curiosity Shoppers: Roller derby team welcomes community for oddities market and match

It’s not your average flea market.
Roller derby league the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals presents Halloween Fest Oddities and Alternative Flea Market on Saturday, Oct. 28, giving guests a chance to shop for strange and unusual items.
The event takes place at the league’s headquarters at 4949 Birney Ave., Moosic. Doors open for the flea market at 10 a.m. with 60 vendors offering art, photography, horror crafts, pet items, bath and body products, taxidermy, jewelry, wreaths, vegan goods, tarot readings, sessions with a medium and more.
The event came from the Radicals’ collective love of all things creepy and horror, and it offers a way to showcase local artists and get to know the community, league president Brandy Ralston said.
“We love Halloween, and we wanted to incorporate that into whatever we did,” the Plains Twp. resident added. “This is a fun way to celebrate and meet our neighbors.”
Guests can listen to live music or grab a bite to eat at a regional food truck or from one of the food vendors. Costume contests start at noon with adult participants vying for the titles of scariest, funniest and most radical. Kids can get in on the fun, too, with a trunk-or-treat, face painting and a costume contest of their own. Pets can show off their best costumes as well. 
At night, 40 skaters from all over, including the Radicals, will compete in a roller derby scrimmage with a chilling twist: Jason versus the Campers, inspired by classic horror flick “Friday the 13th.”
“We have skaters coming from New York, New Jersey, Maryland,” Ralston said, adding space is limited for the scrimmage. “We threw out some other ideas, but ‘Friday the 13th’ seemed like it would be the most fun.”
The event will work as a networking event for prospective skaters. For anyone looking to join the league, open tryouts are set for January. Ralston encourages those interested to talk to league members on Saturday. 
Flea market entry is $2 at the door. If attending the scrimmage, the total cost is $5. All proceeds benefit the self-funded Radicals.
Halloween Fest also gives the Radicals a chance to meet residents and make their presence known. The league has been in the area for several years, but people are surprised to hear a roller derby league exists. A day out with food, unique art, goods and services, combined with spooky fun is exactly what the Roller Radicals are all about, Ralston said.
“We want people to come out and meet us and have a fun day,” she said. “It’s the perfect opportunity to welcome the community. Come over to our house.”

 

Red-hot heritage: Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces celebrates fall through cultural lens

Red-hot heritage: Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces celebrates fall through cultural lens

By: Meryl Paine and Gia Mazur

An annual autumn event will light up the dark with a towering flame to celebrate Scranton’s history, culture and more.
On Saturday, Oct. 21, from 6 to 10 p.m., the seventh annual Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces festival will feature food, live music and activities as it raises money for Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, which oversees the Scranton Iron Furnaces, 159 Cedar Ave. Leading up to and during the annual bonfire lighting at 8:15 p.m., the Double “R” Twirlettes and Scranton Black Diamond Pipe Band will present a fire-twirling show.
“It’s a wonderful event, and through the years I’ve noticed such a growth,” said Kathleen Mercatelli, Twirlettes director. “It’s a really different event since we don’t get many opportunities to twirl fire.”
The Gaelic festival Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter, inspired the event’s creation. But in addition to honoring the area’s industrial heritage, the bonfire over the years “has grown into an all-encompassing cultural event,” committee chairman Brian Murphy said. It incorporated elements of traditional autumn and harvest festivals, such as Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and the Indian festival Diwali, which people celebrate in part by launching fire lanterns.
“We always want to reflect those different cultures and how those different cultures engage and celebrate that,” said Bode Morin, museum and iron furnaces site administrator. “As the program evolves, we want to have a bigger reach and look more at who we are as a community, be more inclusive and celebrate our community as well.” 
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door and free for children 12 and younger. Organizers encourage guests to buy their passes early at scrantonbonfire.com; the museum in McDade Park, 1 Bald Mountain Road, Scranton; and Electric City Trolley Museum, 300 Cliff St., Scranton.
Admission includes $5 in Bonfire Bucks, which guests can use for food, beverages and activities. And they will have plenty to choose from. Guests can celebrate the season with fall and regional favorite drinks, such as spiced cider, hot chocolate, beer and wine, and then chow down on food from Coney Island of Scranton, Terra Preta, Sweet Lush Cupcakery and more.
The festival also will feature performances across two stages by Irish Balladeers, cover band Light Weight and Creative and Performing Arts Academy of NEPA as well as fire hoopers and spinners. Guests can check out balloon artists, a jack-o’-lantern carving competition, tarot card readings, an arts and crafts tent, a bonfire sculpture by Brian Murray of Reclamation Industrial Furnishings and a large-scale art installation that highlights the standing stone blast furnaces.
Each year, the festival explores a different culture in its educational component, Morin said, and this time visitors can head to the cultural tent to learn more about the Irish and Welsh immigrants and the culture they brought to Northeast Pennsylvania.
In seven years, the bonfire has turned into a place where arts, culture, heritage and history meet, and Morin believes it will continue to grow with the community’s support.
“We’re really looking forward to (the festival),” he said. “To get to do this festival for the last seven years straight and always have such a great response from the community … it’s just a great, fun night.”