Organizers Make Final Herrinfesta Italiana Preparations

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By Matthew Searcy

HERRIN -- Months of planning and preparations for Herrinfest Italiana are finally wrapping up, just in time for the week-long event.  

"We always work for quality," said Herrinfesta president Cris Trapani. "We don't necessarily try to get bigger; we try to get better." 
 
Trapani says there's plenty of work to be done to ensure the festival is just as successful as previous years. On Sunday, the concert stage and carnival rides had yet to be set up. However, he says everything is still on schedule. 
 
"All day today, we are doing everything we can to prepare the grounds, from everything to the carnival, the entertainment venue, and all the different events that are going on," explained Trapani. 
 
Crews expect to have all preparations complete, including the concert stage and rides by this Tuesday, capping off months of hard work.  
 
"It's literally about 100 to 200 people, and we started our planning for this year's Festa about September of last year," said Trapani.  
 
The festival, which lasts through Memorial day, includes more than 30 events and five concerts. It's a lot to keep track of, but well worth it for both festival goers and businesses.  
 
"The week leading up to and the week after, we are pretty busy among our regular clientele," said Sergio's restaurant waitress Jessie Delaney.  
 
"During the actual time of Herrinfest, we are usually busy after the parade and with the people who come to town associated with Herrinfest, like the people who work at the carnival and festivities," she insisted. 
 
Trapani says the festival has grown nearly every year and expects a major economic impact for both Herrin and the surrounding areas.
 
"It gets up in the $5 million range." 
 
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