WATKINS GLEN (WENY) -- Once again, Watkins Glen is ready to host thousands over the course of this weekend. It's time for the 38th annual Italian-American festival.
The annual event was founded by a group of residents, with the goal of honoring their ancestors and culture.
"A lot of our friends and family members have been here since day one," says Louis Perazzini, president of the festival's board. "We just want to keep it going throughout the community."
And since day one, the sounds and smells have drawn people in from all around. The three-day event features live entertainment, vendors and amusement rides.
Each year, the festival attracts upwards of 50-thousand visitors.
"Economic wise it's great for the village," says Perazzini. "It's great for the area. it brings in a lot of people."
"We like the crowd, we like being with the people," says Vincent Scuteri, co-owner of Scuiteri's Canoli Connection. Scuteri's has participated in the festival for the past five years. "People enjoy coming, seeing the food and [of course] eating it. [Plus it] brings the community together. It's a good time for everybody"
Proceeds from the festival go a dozen local charities. Those include the American Red Cross, area fire departments and humane societies.
And there's still plenty of time to get in on all the festival has to offer.
Still slated for the upcoming weekend -- a bocce tournament, wine making competition and, as always, plenty of food.
"Enjoy the weekend, say a prayer, keep the rain away and it's just a great time for everybody," says Perazzini.