As most New Yorkers know, you don’t have to be Italian to enjoy a night out in Little Italy. This is truer than ever this week into next, as the city is holding a celebration of the popular 84th Annual Feast of San Gennaro from Thursday, Sept. 16 until Sunday, Sept. 26. More than 1 million visitors from across the world attend the festival each year. Come out for free entertainment, food and cooking demos, games and of course to honor Saint Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples.
Activities take place along Mulberry, Hester and Grand Streets from 1130 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. for the 11-day span of fun – on Friday and Saturdays, the festival runs until midnight.
Food & Fun
Leave the gun, take the cannoli — a lot of cannolis. The ninth annual Little Italy Cannoli Eating Competition takes place Thursday afternoon and will feature professional eaters downing incredible amounts of the delicious desserts. Catch the action starting at 2 p.m. Or, if sweets aren’t your style, catch the pizza eating contest on Thursday – also scheduled for 2 p.m.
If you’re not one for competition, no worries – there will be plenty of food to enjoy at your own pace. More than 50 restaurants are coming out for the event, serving up traditional Italian treats also with beer and wine. Take your pick of zeppoles, sausage and pepper hero sandwiches, calzones, pasta or gelato from over 200 vendors.
Honoring Saint Gennaro
It’s certainly easy to get caught up in all the eats and entertainment the feast has to offer, but the reason for the event isn’t to be forgotten. Alongside the fun, the event promises to include religious aspects as well.
In fact, the feast’s opening day will feature the Blessing of the Stands, in which a priest will bless the event’s vendors and merchants – you can watch this Thursday at 6 p.m.
The official feast Day is Sunday, Sept. 19 and will be marked by a celebratory mass, followed immediately by a religious procession through the streets of Little Italy.
The festival will also feature of Grand Procession on Sat. Sept. 25 at 2 p.m., with actor Tony Lo Bianco acting as honorary grand marshal.
Most Precious Blood Church
110 Baxter Street
A performance stage at Grand and Mott Streets will host the nightly live entertainment.
CBS Radio will be an active part of the partying! WCBSFM 101.1, 92.3 NOW and FRESH 102.7 will all have booths throughout the entire festival. Make sure to swing by each of the booths for prizes and giveaways!
In addition, NOW 92.3 will be broadcasting the Weekend Rollout with TikTak on Friday Sept. 17 from 3 to 7 p.m., and WCBS 101.1 will bring out Joe Causi to host his live three-hour broadcast on Saturday Sept. 18 starting at 7 p.m.
Other live entertainment:
Thursday, Sept. 16
7:30–8:00 p.m.: Vinny Vella (of “Sopranos” fame) and Johnny T, performing doo wop.
8:15-9:00 p.m.: Cexton Records recording artist Johnny Mandolin performing songs from his new album.
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Opera and Jazz singer Marie Anello, and a special performance by Ernie Rossi of his new song “Fa L’Amore Con Te.”
Friday, Sept. 17
7:30-9:30 p.m.: Rock & Roll band Nostalgia performs.
Saturday, Sept. 18
2:00–3:00 p.m.: Popular Italian-American singer Jimmy Alleva
Sunday, Sept. 19
7:00–9:30 p.m.: Sound Affair band
Tuesday, Sept. 21
7:30–8:00 p.m.: Debbie Broadway & Jorge Buccio, singing duo
8:15-9:30 p.m.: Gianni Russo (The Godfather) and his Band
Wednesday, Sept. 22
2:00-3:00 p.m.: Singer Jimmy Geany
7:00-9:30 p.m.: Opera Night, featuring Marie Anello, Joshua Benevento, John Carelli, Emily Ross Johnson, Karen King Melanie Long, Sara Stewart and Marsha Thompson
7:30-9:30 p.m.: Alfio, International pop star from Australia
Friday, Sept. 24
7:00-10:00 p.m. : Sirius XM Satellite Radio live broadcast hosted by radio personality Cousin Brucie (Bruce Morrow)
Saturday, Sept. 25
2:00-3:00 p.m.: Singer John Ricci
7:00-9:30 p.m.: Vito & The Elegants
Sunday, Sept. 26
2:00-3:00 p.m.: Popular cabaret star Jenna Esposito
7:00-9:00 p.m.: Jesse Posa Trio
By NYC Subway:
– N or R trains to the Prince Street Station, walk to Mulberry Street
– F or V trains to the Broadway/Lafayette Station and walk to Mulberry Street
PATH Train to 14th Street and transfer to the F (downtown).
Take the Holland Tunnel to Canal Street. Drive East on Canal Street to Mulberry Street.
For information on the festival, click here.