WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WETM) – The Watkins Glen Italian-American Festival returned in full force Friday afternoon after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
The Festival Committee president said the campgrounds have been sold out for weeks.
Vendors and guests from all over were excited to see the festival return.
Michelle Scutt from Mt Morris sells German White Garlic at Harmony Acres. “Oh, I absolutely love it. You can’t wait to get back to the festivals,” she said. “Yes it’s a big hassle trying to get here… and then when you get here, and you see everything, you know how bad you missed it.”
The planning wasn’t without its challenges. Festival Committee President Lou Perazzini said “With the new addition to the park, our new event center, and our splash pad, and our skating rinks going in, we knew it was going to be a challenge, but we were up for it. And it’s something we look forward to doing. it was a good venture for us.”
The beach is closed and taped off this year. Craig Bond, Watkins Glen Parks and Event Manager said they’ve had a hard time hiring certified lifeguards; only two have applied this summer so far. In order to open the beach, the park needs four lifeguards, and normally at this time of the year there are seven.
But guests turned out despite the heat for the food, rides, music and boating.
There will be a parade celebrating essential workers on Saturday, August 14 at noon. The festival closes with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.