Erie News Now has spent the last week taking a look at plans for the region's big summer festivals, fairs and events to see how organizers plan to approach things this year.

Our focus this time is on St. Paul's Italian Festival, centered around St. Paul Roman Catholic Church at 16th and Walnut Streets.

It's normally a colorful, noisy, vibrant social event in Erie's Little Italy neighborhood, but in 2020 event organizers had to pivot because of the risks of spreading COVID-19 at large gatherings.

Instead of tents, music, the procession of the Virgin Mary statue and lots and lots of great Italian food, the festival was forced to become a drive-through food pick-up event, to protect the community from spreading the virus.

According to the festival committee, this year, there will be a St. Paul's Italian Festival, as always centered around the church and food, but they plan to stick with what worked last year, since the pandemic isn't over yet.

Brian Ferraro, a members of the festival committee shared what leaders of the event are thinking at this time. "I would say based on what we know and what we would feel comfortable with, it would probably duplicate what we did last year yes," Ferraro said.  "What worked very well, was establishing a website, where our supporters could go on line place an order, pay and make arrangements for express pickup, that went over extremely well."

The festival will still have some drive through and walk-up ordering, but they say they will improve on the website because it prevent long waits and long lines of cars.

Last year, the parish raised about 1/3 of the money they would have with a traditional festival.  The dates for the event this year are August 6 through August 8.