Life in the big city, and everything in between.

Festival in the heart of Little Italy

In Food on September 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

The San Gennaro festival in Little Italy

It’s September and that means one thing in Little Italy, the feast of San Gennaro. This annual celebration recognizes the Patron Saint of Naples. The first feast took place in 1926 when immigrants arrived from Naples and settled along Mulberry Street in Little Italy.

The statue of San Gennaro

For 11 days and nights the streets of Little Italy are filled with people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds eating Italian food, playing carnival games, and enjoying all the festivities.
There are hundreds of street vendors who set up shop along Little Italy selling a wide variety of goods and merchandise, including international foods, official Little Italy souvenir items and boutique merchandise including some pretty tacky  t-shirts.

Vendors sell merchandise inspired by all things Italian.

They even have carnival games, as well as arcade games, that will bring you back to your childhood. Although it isn’t as fun winning an oversized stuffed animal as it used to be.
And if you want a more “adult oriented” game try beer pong.

Beer Pong

But the best part about the Feast of San Gennaro are the endless amounts of food vendors. From zeppoles(dough fritters dipped in powdered sugar) to fried oreos, and pork braciole(thinly pounded pork rolled up with garlic, cheese, pepper, and oregano inside) to sausage and peppers, you can have the typical street fair favorites and more.

Coils of pork sausage and sauteed onions peppers

Ok so there may not be anything Italian about fried oreos, but who doesn’t like an Oreo cookie dipped in funnel-cake batter and fried up.

So not everything at the festival is authentically Italian, however, there is a huge selection of cannoli stations that line the streets.  This Sicilian pastry is best enjoyed freshly filled so the shell doesn’t get soggy.

Did you GTC today?

The festival runs along Mulberry Street, between Canal Street (on south) and Houston Street (on north). It takes place east to west on Grand Street, between Mott and Baxter Street, and east to west on Hester Street, between Mott and Baxter Streets.  If you aren’t into the big crowds go during the week. I went around 11pm because the vendors stay open until midnight. Also, make sure to pace yourself at each food station because the amounts of fried food are endless.

Freshly filled cannoli

The Feast of San Gennaro is held between Thursday, September 16, through Sunday, September 26, 2010. You may get ripped of at the carnie stands and probably eat way too many zeppoles, but this festival only comes around once a year, so experience it for yourself.



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