By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It’s the granddaddy of them all and it starts Friday night. Believe it or not, it’s the 15th year for the Little Italy Film Festival.

Ron Matz reports–it’s a Baltimore tradition all about film, food and fun.

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The music and the big screen are ready.

“Moonstruck” kicks off the 15th annual Little Italy Film Festival.

“This festival is one of the most amazing things that ever happened to this community,” said Lisa Morekas, Sabatino’s restaurant. “It brings everyone together. Everybody enjoys it.”

The late John Pente made it happen, putting a projector in the third floor bedroom of his High Street home.

“This year we’re going to try something new,” said Maria Vaccaro, Vaccaro’s Italian pastry shop.

For the first time, four restaurants will be selling food and Italian sodas outside.

“Instead of trying to run to a restaurant while they already have their spot they can purchase a selection of foods from four restaurants outside: Sabatino’s., Da Mimmos, Chiapparelli’s and from Vaccaro’s our cannoli chip and dip. It will be reasonable: $4 or $5. We’ll also sell Italian sodas.”

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Sabatino’s famous bookmaker salad and more are on the menu.

“Over the years we’ve had a lot of customers who attend the festival request that we sell our food out here, so they don’t have to lose their spot,” Morekas said. “So this year we decided to start with something light. We have all cold items available, and we’ll see how it goes.”

So bring your lawn chair, there’s music and free popcorn too.

It’s cinema al fresco.

“It���s 15 years now for the Little Italy open air film festival,” Vaccaro said. “I think we got the ball rolling, and it’s snowballed.”

When the sun goes down, the big screen lights up.

“I think it means a lot to the community. There’s a lot of camaraderie. The residents come out. The businesses come together. We have a lot of visitors. They come and set their chairs out and everybody’s in a good mood,” Vaccaro said.

The live music begins at 7 p.m. The movie begins at 9 p.m.

“Little Italy is at her finest and really shines during the film festival,” Morekas said. “It’s such a great atmosphere. It’s upbeat and vibrant. There’s music. It’s the best time to see Little Italy.”

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The festival continues every Friday night during July and August.