Italian American Festival continues in 2020
WATKINS GLEN--Despite concerns that 2019 was the last year for the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival, organizers have announced the festival will again take place in 2020. The popular local event is scheduled for Aug. 7 and 8 at Clute Park.
Organizers initially believed construction to Clute Park would have prevented the festival from taking place in 2020.
"The project is going on, it's not going to close the whole park, but that just means the festival will be on a smaller scale. Something like half the vendors, but there will still be three bands, a wine and beer garden, a firework show on Saturday," said Louie Perazzini, Watkins Glen Italian American Festival committee president.
Instead of rides for children, Perazzini said he is instead looking into renting bounce castles which would allow children to have fun while taking into account the limited space.
"Due to the construction there is limited space at Clute Park. The intention is that once the work at Clute is finished and updated we will go back to having the festival at its normal size," Perazzini said.
Instead of the entire park being shut down for construction, Perazzini, who is also a deputy mayor, said work will instead be done in two stages, leaving roughly half the park available for public use at a given time.
After last year's festival, which Perazzini estimated drew 15,000-20,000 people to Watkins Glen, there were concerns that not only would the festival not take place in 2020, but perhaps never again.
"There were doubts, but then I sat down with the rest of the committee and then we got some new volunteers who didn't want to see the festival go by the wayside and that put a spark in us, and we said ok, let's do what we can do and go from there," Perazzini said.
Despite the smaller size, Perazzini said the 2020 festival will be meaningful for everyone involved.
"It's important because this will be our 40th year and it's a great thing for the community, thousands of people come to this thing and everyone looks forward to a good summer event. Campers, boaters, it's something that looks good for the village and the local economy. We are hoping for good weather and a crowd," Perazzini said.