Actor Gianni Russo and restaurateur Joe Grisafi, in front of Corked. Russo, who played Carlo Rizzi in 1972’s “The Godfather,” was in town to promote Don Corleone Organic Italian Vodka with the motto, “An offer you can‘t refuse.” Grisafi owns the wine bar and steak house. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
PRESS PHOTOS BY ED COURRIERAccompanied by Nick Franco on accordion, actor and singer Gianni Russo serenades diners at Corked on Main Street. Russo, who played Carlo Rizzi in 1972’s “The Godfather,” was in town to promote Don Corleone Organic Italian Vodka with the motto, “An offer you can‘t refuse.” Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Volunteering for South Italy Imports, Mike Ottinger and Kyle Frederico man a stop on the festival’s “Wine Trail.” Sampling some Italian white wine are Jordan Bicher and Greg Jones. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Maggie Mowrer passes out free samples of various spices mixed with oil and vinegar at the Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar booth. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Crosman Carey checks out a sporty Alfa Romeo 4C at the Brown-Daub booth. The Oklahoma pilot had just delivered an airplane to the Lehigh Valley and said, “I try to get out as much as I can.” Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Elyse Boniscavage treats the DePinto family to free helpings of rotisserie style wings at the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza of Trexlertown booth. Kathleen DePinto and her daughters Giuliani and Arianna are Bethlehem residents. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Emilio Beckett from Lehighton enjoys a sip of hard cider at the Hardball Cider on Main booth. Serving the free samples are CEO Geoff Deen and Jazmine Odrey at their first Italian festival. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Visiting from Lehighton, James Bower and his little sister Callie-Ann try to score points at the Bethlehem Steel Football Club’s inflatable goal. Founded in 2015, Bethlehem Steel FC is a professional Bethlehem-based team that competes in the United Soccer League. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Cunningham & Associates were among the bands performing in the Sun Inn courtyard. From left, Steve Patterson playing keyboard, Michael Fritz on guitar, John Sproat on drums, Don Cunningham on guitar, Mark Buschi on bass, and Pete Fluck on sax. A familiar face in Democratic politics, Cunningham had formerly served as Bethlehem’s mayor and Lehigh County Executive. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
‘An offer you can’t refuse’
Sponsored by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, the Second Annual Bethlehem Italian Festival was held June 17 on Main Street and in the Sun Inn Courtyard. The event featured a “Wine Trail,” with 14 wines curated by South Italy Imports were available for tasting. An “Italian Food Trail” featured culinary delights sampling at nearby participating restaurants like The Brick, Tapas On Main, Twisted Olive, and The Colony Meadery at the Book Shop.
Live music filled the air and various vendors offered Italian pasta dishes, Italian ice, Italian automobiles, motorcycles and scooters, and a few freebies for the crowd to enjoy under cloudy skies and occasional drizzle.
Actor and singer Gianni Russo, who played Carlo Rizzi in “The Godfather,” was also on hand to meet fans of the film.
“The festival grew this year from last year in the amount of people who came,” said Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Lynn Cunninghan. “The rain hasn’t kept people away.”