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An impressive Martin celebration

June 24, 2012
The Herald-Star

To the editor:

There were many things to do for visitors who attended this year's annual Dean Martin Festival, for example - dining at the Greek Festival and area restaurants; visiting the Dean Martin Room at the Jefferson County Historical Association's museum; taking pictures of the mural at the Hollywood City Center Kroger store; taking in a live show at the high school, as well as Fort Steuben; and enjoying the nonstop entertainment at the Spot Bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There would not be much of a festival without Jo-Jo Di Albert and his very dedicated staff - it is unbelievable how much preparation and work go into this celebration ... And he pulls it off every year and donates part of the proceeds so we can do it all over again. It is so impressive to hear old and new attendees say that they can't wait to be back next year. The people I met and spoke with were very impressed that they were able to see Las Vegas caliber acts all night long for a mere $10 cover charge, and it never ceases to amaze me that true fans never tire of hearing "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime," repeatedly.

Let us not forget Rose Angelica, who got this whole thing started. Although she was out of town for much of the planning stages of the festival, she is still very much a member of the committee, doing things behind the scenes and not taking any credit. She was able to attend the event on Saturday, and there she was setting up items to be auctioned for the scholarship fund. Once a teacher, always a teacher, always doing something to benefit kids.

I hope everyone, including city and county officials, are aware of the dollars that are spent this week as visitors filled our restaurants and hotels, purchased gasoline and bought personal items at our grocery stores and pharmacies. It would have been nice to see those who make an income from this town meet and greet visitors who spend a lot of money at this event, even if only for a few minutes. If that's not reasonable, a little welcome card in each room with an itinerary would be nice or a free daily paper so they can read the latest festival stories. But, it's not just about stuff it's also about emotions.

I couldn't close without saying how very proud I am to know Barb and Rich Wilinski and "Sluggs" Smarrella, who went out of their way to make visitors feel welcome and at home on the first day of their experience at the festival. They are not on the committee, they're just nice people, ambassadors if you will, who are proud of their town and its heritage. The visitors are so impressed with the way we celebrate the legacy of Dean Martin and how we treat them (as family) that they will return. First impressions are lasting.

Kathy Antinone

Dean Martin Festival

Committee member

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