WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WYTV) – A tradition in Wellsville for more than 20 years may be coming to an end after the Sons of Italy announced the cancelation of its Italian Festival this year.
On Friday, the group posted on its Facebook page saying it will not hold the event for the first time in 21 years.
Sons of Italy Lodge #657 President Joe Traina cites the lack of manpower as the main reason.
At its highest, the group used to have upwards of 400 members. Now, that number is closer to 150.
“Our population is aging. It’s just not enough to run a 3-day event, which it’s 18 hours of actual festival time on the street, but there’s a lot more that goes into it than those 18 hours,” Traina said.
Many people who are no longer in the club have either passed away or moved.
Another issue is money.
Everyone in the Sons of Italy is a volunteer and in the midst of Wellsville’s financial crisis, Traina says the group came under scrutiny for using police overtime.
A much smaller version of the festival could take place inside the Sons of Italy building, but nothing has been decided to date.
Traina says he’d be open to having someone take over the festival.
“If somebody wants to pick my brain for information, I’d be happy to give it,” he said.
But he hasn’t had any significant discussions with anyone yet.
The festival was originally scheduled for the first weekend in August.