Celebrating legacy of Dean Martin

Visitors from around the Tri-State Area, the nation and the world are gathering in Steubenville this week to celebrate the memory of Dean Martin.

His name still carries that touch of magic, and will forever be associated with the cocktail-cool era.

And, while the world remembers him as one of greatest performers of all time, residents of our area still sometimes think of him as Dino Crocetti, the guy who was born in Steubenville on June 7, 1917.

Martin, and his pals in the Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford — helped set the tone for American entertainment in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Their efforts helped transform what was then the sleepy little town of Las Vegas into one of the largest tourist destinations in the world, a place where things that happen there stay there.

He remains one of the most versatile entertainers of all time, having spending his career at the top of his profession, whether on stage or recording as a singer, in front of a movie camera, performing comedy with Jerry Lewis or working on television. While many of today’s celebrities and stars are dominant in one aspect of the entertainment industry, Martin was one of those rare personalities who was able to do it all.

It’s that legacy, that larger-than-life persona that made him so popular and has allowed his works to remain top draws long after his death on Dec. 25, 1995, that will be remembered this week during the annual Dean Martin Festival.

Things heat up Thursday at the Berkman Amphitheater with a performance by the Vince Villanova Big Band and the Bob Morelli Dean Martin Tribute Show. Action then shifts to the Spot Bar for the annual karaoke contest. On Friday and Saturday evenings, Morelli, Dave Salara and Chris Denem will perform at the Spot Bar, and the Frank Gallo band will appear there Saturday afternoon.

At 5:45 p.m. Saturday, the Joe Scalissi Dean Martin Tribute Show is set for the Berkman Amphitheater. It’s part of an afternoon of music at Steubenville’s Hometown Celebration that includes Flashback at 4:30 p.m. and Beatlemania Magic at 7 p.m.

There also will be plenty of activities at the Spot Bar, including the annual auction.

The Dean Martin Festival is one of three big events in the city this week — the list includes the Greek festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, which runs through Friday, and Steubenville’s Dean Martin Hometown Celebration, which is set for Saturday.

We hope everyone who visits this week will have a great time while enjoying our community’s rich heritage.