Rotterdam’s Joe DiPietro may never stop working at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel festa.
“I keep telling everybody, ‘This is my last year; this is my last year,'” said DiPietro, 87, as he threaded yellow rope through iron poles to create a corridor in the church parking lot. “But I’m always active, what can I say?”
Everyone at Mt. Carmel was active Thursday, as volunteers covered concession tables, strung lights, installed refrigerators, stocked food and made sure the Mont Pleasant parish’s annual summer festa was ready for Friday’s opening night.
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The party begins at 5 p.m. Italian food, games of chance, a garage sale and live music will be among the traditional attractions, as Mt. Carmel entertains until 10 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday hours will be 5 to 10 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m., respectively.
The Rogues will perform Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. Harmony will be on stage Saturday from 7 until 10 p.m., and Grand Central Station will play Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.
The festa has been part of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel since the church opened on Schenectady Street in 1922. The current church on Pleasant Street, between 9th Avenue and Hodgson Street, opened in 1962.
Rotterdam resident Joe Massaroni, 71, a lifelong member of the church, was on Thursday’s work detail. Volunteers began setting up for the festa July 6, starting most days at 8 a.m.
“I like seeing the people — seeing people you don’t see regularly. And the food is great,” Massaroni said of festa nights. “There are people who don’t eat this kind of food except once a year, a lot of them.”
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