By DAVE GOSSETT
STEUBENVILLE - Fans of Dean Martin music will get a chance to perform with the late crooner during the Dean Martin Karaoke Party Thursday night at the Spot Bar.
The karaoke party starts at 8 p.m.
"I am looking forward to the visitors who will be coming to our city to enjoy the entertainment we will be providing. Year after year the Dean Martin Festival has grown. This year, we are working closely with the city and the Historic Fort Steuben and have put together a great festival," said Jo Jo DiAlbert of the Spot Bar.
"This will be another great time. and I am looking forward to seeing out-of-town visitors as well as local residents coming together to enjoy the memories of Dean Martin," DiAlbert added.
DiAlbert said local author and educator Mary Ann Sunyoger will be speaking about her new book, "Life Lessons - a Connection of Souls Throughout Life's Journeys," at 4 p.m. at the Spot Bar.
The Dean Martin Tribute at the Spot Bar on Fourth Street will continue Friday and Saturday and will feature an annual tribute to Martin.
On Friday, the Spot Bar entertainment will open at 8 p.m. and will feature Rich Treglia performing Dean Martin songs.
He will be followed at 8:30 p.m. by Russ Loniello performing as Dean Martin and at 9:15 p.m. with Buster Maxwell and Suzanne Laughlin as Sonny & Cher.
The evening will continue with a Dean Martin Karaoke contest at 9:45 p.m. and then, at 10:45 p.m., Dave Salera will portray Frank Sinatra while Bob Morelli appears as Dean Martin.
A portion of the proceeds from the Dean Martin Festival will go to music scholarships in the area schools.
Also on Friday night, a family-friendly Martin-related show will be presented at Froehlich's Classic Corner at Fifth and Washington streets. David and Joey Granati and about 14 students from their Those Who are About to Rock Academy in Ambridge, Pa., as well as Morelli, will perform in the 6 p.m. show. Tickets are $10, and proceeds will benefit the Grand Theater Restoration Project.
The Dean Martin Hometown Celebration Day is set for Saturday and will include sightseeing, recollecting, praying, learning, shopping, eating and entertainment at various sites throughout the city.
Tours of the Dean Martin Room at the Jefferson County Historical Museum on Franklin Avenue will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, the Hometown Celebration street fair will take place at the Historic Fort Steuben Park featuring food and craft vendors and the Kurt James Fun and Games.
Activities continue Saturday with the Rat Pack concert featuring a 13-piece orchestra, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. entertainers as well as Louis Prima and Keeley Smith impersonators. That event is set to start at 2 p.m. at Steubenville High School.
There is a $10 admission donation that will benefit the performing arts programs at local high schools.
"Dean Martin is an icon of the entertainment business. This annual event brings people from all over the country to Steubenville where they enjoy our heritage, see our historical buildings and feel the warmth of our community," observed Jerry Barilla of the Historic Fort Steuben board of trustees.
"We will also have food vendors in the Visitors Center parking lot. And there will be vendors as well as organizations at tables and booths on the Third Street sidewalk across from the city building," noted Barilla.
"Inside the visitors center we will have a DVD titled 'Sweet Memories of Steubenville' that includes a number of clips from Dean Martin movies and television shows where he refers to Steubenville. He truly loved his hometown and often referred to the city publicly," remarked Barilla.
Judy Bratten, executive director of Historic Fort Steuben, said Dean Martin memorabilia, including life-size posters, will be available for purchase at the visitors center and at the Rat Pack show at Steubenville High School on Saturday.
"We always have visitors looking for souvenirs, and we have a great variety of items this year," declared Bratten.
The Dean Martin Festival will conclude Saturday at the Spot Bar starting with the 8 p.m. Rat Pack show.
Chris Denem, performing Neil Diamond songs, takes the stage at 8:45 p.m., and at 9:15 p.m. Russ Loniello returns to the stage as Dean Martin.
The karaoke winner from the Friday night contest will perform at 9:45 p.m. and Chris Denem is back on stage at 10:15 p.m. portraying Neil Diamond.
"The Dean Martin Festival really shows what's good about Steubenville. It is a smaller festival that that attracts visitors from the region and across the nation. And in addition to showing off our community we can celebrate our city's favorite son," noted Barilla.