Come mid-September and the streets of Little Italy will burst forth in colors green, white and red. There will be banners and festive arches as far as your eyes will be able to see and the whole area will pulsate with excitement and life.
Restaurants will roll out the red carpet for those who are always hungry for all things delicious and palatable and you will be able to sample a wide variety of Italian specialty foods and pastries. Sometimes, strolling musicians will entertain you as you sit with your friends and family at one of the outdoor dining locations wondering what delicacy to order next.
Street vendors will tempt you with all kinds of goods, merchandise, souvenir items, jewelry, and clothing and your kids can enjoy themselves at any one of the many arcade games or carnival rides that will be organized.
And, if all this wasn’t enough, there will be musical entertainment for all kinds of audiences. Whether you are fond of Italian folk songs or enjoy the symphony of the opera or prefer to step in time to rock ‘n roll beats…..you are sure to find something to your taste here.
Here? Where’s here? What’s happening? What’s all this excitement about? Haven’t you heard? It’s time for New York’s longest running, most popular outdoor festival – the Feast of San Gennaro. This mammoth 11-day festival that attracts more than a million visitors as well as participants is celebrated in honor of the patron saint of Naples.
The event is hosted every year by the Figli di San Gennaro, Inc., a not-for-profit community organization that keeps the spirit and faith of the early Italian immigrants alive. Although the festival does promise a lot of fun and games, the religious significance of the festival is not forgotten. The highlight of the festival is the celebratory Mass held in the Most Precious Blood Church on September 19. This is then followed by a religious procession, where the Statue of San Gennaro is carried from its permanent home in the church through the streets of Little Italy.
The Feast of San Gennaro will run from Thursday, September 16, through Sunday, September 26, 2010, on the streets of Little Italy in lower Manhattan, the neighborhood that thousands of Italian immigrants learned to call home. The first Feast took place on September 19, 1926, at which time it was just a modest 1-dy affair. Who knew that it would swell into a festival of such phenomenal proportions enjoyed equally by people of all origin, color, and creed? As Joseph Mattone, President of Figli di San Gennaro, Inc. puts it, “The Feast brings the world to Little Italy and Little Italy to the world.”