STEUBENVILLE - The city was a Rat-Packing and a-swingin' during the second day of activities as part of the Dean Martin Tribute Saturday.
From performances at the Spot Bar and a concert at the Steubenville High School featuring entertainers saluting the city's favorite son, there was a little something for every Dino fan.
The auditorium at the city high school was the place for an afternoon show featuring the Bo Wagner Orchestra paying tribute to Rat Packers Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra by performing some of the pack's signature songs, including "That's Life," "My Way," "I've Got the World on a String" and "You Make Me Feel so Young." The packed auditorium and ambiance reminded many of a nightclub show on the Vegas Strip, according to volunteer Gretchen Nelson.
THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT – Russ Loniello was one of the featured performers Saturday at the Spot Bar for the Dean Martin Tribute Show. Thousands of people from throughout the country and elsewhere attended the two-day celebration devoted to Steubenville’s favorite son. -- Mark Miller
"I'm volunteering," she said, adding she was selling Martin-related memorabilia outside the auditorium. "My husband Mark is on the committee.
"These guys are great," Nelson continued. "They are really terrific. They have this big orchestra to back them up. They sound really great in there. It's just like they were live in a nightclub."
Jerry Barilla, concert co-organizer with the Steubenville Visitor's Bureau, said the concert was proving to be a big hit with the crowds visiting the city to celebrate Dino.
"I think this has been a great turnout for the first time doing this in the city," said Barilla. "We formed an events committee to get involved in the Dean Martin Tribute. We basically wanted to enhance the Spot Bar activities. I think this has been a great success, and the entertainment has been first-class."
JoJo DiAlbert, owner of the Spot Bar, said Friday night's crowd was impressive, and he was hoping for a better turnout Saturday evening.
"It's been great - absolutely," said DiAlbert. "Friday night we had about 1,000 people here, and tonight I expect about 2,500."
One of those fans traveling from Cleveland with several of his friends was Steve Pinzore, who said he wouldn't miss the festival dedicated to his idol.
"I'm originally from Italy," said Pinzore. "Then we moved to Little Italy in Cleveland when I was 4 years old."
He said this was the fourth year he and his friends traveled to Steubenville for the event. He said Martin was an amazing entertainer no matter what hat he wore.
"He came at the right time into this world," he said. "He made you feel like you were part of the family. I used to watch his variety show as a kid. It featured all the big stars of his time."
Pinzore added he was right at home in Steubenville.
"Yes, I feel great here," he said. "It's an Italian thing. It's all about family, eating and having a good time. It's universal."
Actor Lou Martini said he enjoyed being master of ceremonies for the event once again.
"This is my sixth year," he said. "I started when the (television show) 'The Sopranos' was still on.
"It's the people here that make it special," Martini continued. "Absolutely. I'm originally from a small town, and I'm a small-town guy who lives in a big town. Plus I'm a big Dean Martin fan. My father was friends with Dean Martin. I actually met him once."
Lorenzo Suriano of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, also said he enjoyed all things Dino as well as the people of Steubenville.
"It's about an eight-hour drive for me," he said. "This is my fourth time here. I grew up listening to Dean Martin. He was my dad's favorite entertainer. "I followed his career my entire life."
Suriano also said he once met Martin and Sinatra in Las Vegas.
"I saw him and Sinatra there in the early 1970s," he said.