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Martin on center stage this week

June 13, 2012
The Herald-Star

Steubenville will welcome visitors from the Tri-State Area, the nation and the world to the Dean Martin Tribute later this week and the Dean Martin Hometown Celebration Day on Saturday.

It's the community's yearly tribute to the man who was born here on June 7, 1917, as Dino Crocetti and became one of the top entertainers of all time.

Martin will forever be linked with the cocktail-cool era, a time when he and fellow Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. donned tuxedos, took to the stages at casinos and helped to put Las Vegas on the map as one of the top entertainment destinations in the world.

For that to be the only way Martin is remembered, however, would be to sell the man short, to say the least. Unlike many of today's celebrities, Martin had the talent, ability and discipline to shine while performing in any format.

It's a legacy that made him hugely popular in life and has allowed his works to remain top draws long after his death on Dec. 25, 1995.

The events will be throughout the city and begin at 7 p.m. Thursday with the Dean Martin Karaoke Party at the Spot Bar on Fourth Street. Events on Friday include a show at 7:30 p.m. at the Spot Bar that will feature Italian singer and accordianist Mirella Volpe followed by Rich Treglia and Russ Loniello from Branson, Mo. A Dino Singing Contest follows with Stevens and Dave Salara starring as Martin and Frank Sinatra to cap off the evening.

The tribute at the Spot Bar continues Saturday with a free show beginning at 1 p.m. featuring the Frank Gallo Italian Band and Dino's Hits and Sing Along. At 7:30 p.m., the evening show begins featuring Russ Loniello and the winner of the Dino Singing Contest. Stevens again takes the stage, after which the Rat Pack Show begins. The evening concludes with the Chris Denem Tribute Show to Neil Diamond.

It's important to not that admission for the evening shows Saturday is $10, and all proceeds benefit the Dean Martin Music Scholarship Fund.

Other events are planned Saturday throughout Martin's hometown. At 10 a.m., tours of the Dean Martin Room at the Jefferson County Historical Museum at 426 Franklin Ave. are scheduled. There's also a 10:30 a.m. Mass in honor of the entertainer at the Holy Name Cathedral, 711 South St., along with hot dogs and drinks at the Hollywood Shopping Plaza and Martin-related memorabilia for sale from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

And a benefit orchestra concert is planned beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Steubenville High School, with a portion of funds raised through the $5 admission going toward performing arts programs at SHS and Catholic Central High School. The concert, which will feature a 13-piece band backing Pittsburgh-based entertainer Antoinette and Bo Wagner's Rat Pack.

The Dean Martin Festival is one of several much-anticipated events being held this week. The 25th-annual Grecian Food Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church at 300 S. Fourth St. opened its four-day run Tuesday. There's also Local History Day at the Historic Fort Steuben on Saturday.

We hope you'll join us downtown this week to meet with old friends, make new friends and enjoy some music while appreciating our town's heritage and what makes it special.

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