Human InterestThe Northern Westchester Examiner

With a Local Family in Need, Briarcliff Rekindles Mezzapalooza

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The plight facing the Rowe family has driven the Briarcliff community to restart Mezzapalooza, scheduled for Saturday, May 11.

After a four-year break, the return of a fun but important fundraiser is scheduled for May 11 in Briarcliff Manor.

The event is Mezzapalooza, an evening of music, food and community spirit at the village’s pavilion, under a large tent.

Starting in 2012, it was created to help a family in Briarcliff Manor or Ossining that needed assistance after experiencing misfortune, such as an unforeseen health issue. The original impetus for organizing the event was the sudden passing of John Mezzatesta, himself an active community member and a pillar of the village, at 40 years old in 2012.

“There’s always a family in the village or the greater Ossining area that could use the help again,” said Marc Milano, one of the organizers of Mezzapalooza and who is involved with the nonprofit organization the Mezzapalooza Foundation. “That’s how the idea was born, like a unifying bond through music.”

Each year through 2019, another family was identified by the foundation’s board and was helped as the proceeds went toward helping a child’s college fund or helping a family to make ends meet after one of the spouses is left incapacitated.

But Mezzapalooza hasn’t been held since 2019, the last year before the pandemic. It has been scuttled since then – until now.

Milano said that another well-respected local figure and family have encountered a serious health issue, and community members debated and ultimately decided to bring it back. Scott Rowe, now 50, was a star athlete when he attended Ossining High School and married his high school sweetheart, Michelle. The couple has two daughters.

A month after contracting COVID in June 2022, Rowe was taken to the hospital with breathing difficulties, and has since been in and out of the hospital and other healthcare facilities. He currently is at the Briarcliff Manor Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing.

“We’re like, oh my goodness, this is like the perfect opportunity for us to reboot this foundation, get it going, so we reconstituted the board with some local guys who are on the younger side of the spectrum,” Milano said.

For $100 a ticket, attendees can treat themselves to the food and beer trucks, or you can bring your own beverages, he said. There’s a tent featuring three local bands and other activities under the pavilion.

There will also be silent auctions where admission to area golf clubs, tickets to sporting events and meet and greets with professional athletes can be won.

Sergio Prosperino, another event organizer and someone who has been involved in the foundation, said community members went back and forth over the idea of rekindling Mezzapalooza but decided it would be a benefit to the community, and most of all, to the Rowe family.

Now that Mezzapalooza will return, the hope is that it will be here to stay as an annual event, he said.

“The intent is, now that we brought it back, the intent would be to continue it each year and identify a family who unfortunately could benefit from the foundation and continue it, assuming all goes well in a couple of weeks, and we anticipate it will. We will continue it again,” Prosperino said.

As of last weekend, 150 tickets were sold, and it is hoped that they can get 300 to attend, he said. The event is scheduled from 6 to 11 p.m.

To buy tickets or to learn more about Mezzapalooza, visit


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