Baby doll

Baby Doll Dance spotlights annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel festival in Lowellville

LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – For anyone who has never attended the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival, this is quite unique. It’s been happening in Lowellville for almost 130 years.

There are carnival games, rides, food, pétanque and even card games like blackjack. But what makes this festival famous is the Baby Doll Dance. Historians say the tradition dates back hundreds of years in Europe.

“A southern Italian tradition. The Sistrio family brought him here and he danced in many clubs and he always stood out. What it does is remove all the bad juju, you might say. So you can start from scratch,” said Dave Gagliano, president of the Mount Carmel Society.

Since the beginning of the festival, there have only been four dancers. This year Lowellville has a new dancer, Nick Speziale, who says he’s been watching his uncle perform since he was a baby. Her uncle has been practicing Baby Doll Dance for 42 years. Wednesday night was the first performance of Speziale.

“I was panicking. Me, I’m a nervous person, so I was freaking out, but now I’m fine. I’m ready for it tonight and I’m excited,” Speziale said.

As part of the dance, there will be lots of sparks and fireworks, so the firefighters will be on standby in case something goes wrong.

Friday will be the last chance to see the dancer who has been the doll for over 40 years.