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Amazing Food and Singing Stars to Highlight 87th Annual Enfield Italian Festival

A Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, an iconic entertainer's offspring and some reality TV stars will appear at the festival this weekend.

August is a rare month of two full moons, but it is the stars that will be shining at the 87th annual Enfield Italian Festival this weekend.

The three-day celebration put on by the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society runs Friday through Sunday, and features the best in homemade Italian food, entertainment, special guests and family fun.

In reality, the weekend kicks off Thursday night with the traditional candlelight procession through the streets surrounding the society grounds on Park Ave. The procession begins around 8 p.m.

The festival proper gets underway Friday at 5 p.m. Highlights will include a cooking demonstration by Mary Ann Esposito of the PBS series "Ciao Italia", and musical performances by pop-country singer-songwriter Veronica Ballestrini and Dr. K's Motown Revue.

of the hit TLC reality series "Cake Boss" will return for the second straight year. He will be accompanied by his wife, Maddalena, and additional cast members from the Valastro family. They will give a special cake demonstration Saturday at 6:30 p.m., and will greet fans and sign autographs the entire weekend.

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By exclusive arrangement with Carlo's Bakery, the Hoboken, NJ pastry shop where "Cake Boss" is filmed, every pastry will be made there fresh daily and transported to Enfield. "Mauro said we're the only Italian festival in the tri-state area to have that deal with Carlo's," said Carl Sferrazza, society president.

Saturday's events begin at an earlier time - 3 p.m. - and that night will feature an incredible evening of music with , daughter of show business icon Dean Martin. She will perform for the third straight year at the festival, accompanied by longtime Frank Sinatra bandleader Vincent Falcone, and she is bringing along some extra star power.

Mary Wilson, co-founder of legendary Motown act the Supremes, will join Martin on stage. She was the lone group member to stay with the trio throughout its run as one of the top singing acts of all time. The Supremes, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, accumulated 12 number one singles in their career, including classic hits like "Baby Love", "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Come See About Me."

Two longstanding traditions of the festival take place Sunday. At 8:30 a.m., an outdoor Mass, spoken partially in Italian, is celebrated at the chapel on the society grounds. The Mass is followed by another neighborhood procession.

At 6:30 p.m., adventuresome teams of five will attempt to climb the greased pole. The top of the pole is adorned with salami, cheese and, most importantly, a cash prize.

Ticket to Ride, a Beatles tribute band based in Southington, will perform Sunday evening, as will vocalist Marcello Sparagna.

As always, food is prepared by members of the society and Women's Auxiliary, including pasta fagioli, fried dough, sausage and peppers and much more. Carnival rides and games will also be featured.

For more information about the festival, visit www.mtcarmelsociety.com.

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