The San Gennaro Feast in New York City’s Little Italy reaches an important milestone this year. The festival, which celebrates Catholicism and Italian American culture, marks its 90th anniversary Thursday. Joining in the fun will be “Who’s the Boss” star Tony Danza, “Bullets over Broadway” actor Chazz Palminteri and local actor Michael Barbieri.
Danza is slated to host the first-ever meatball eating contest, which was created in honor of John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia, who was described as the unofficial mayor of Little Italy. He was best known for his roles in “Goodfellas,” “The Sopranos” and “Death to Smoochy.” His restaurant, Bocca Al Lupo Café on Mulberry St., was a popular hangout for celebs like Danny DeVito, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Hugh Grant and Vincent Pastore.
Ciarcia died Nov. 15 after a brief illness. He was 69.
To find out more about performances and eating-contest schedules, continue reading below:
Thursday, Sept. 15: Performance by Johnny Mandolin at 5-7 p.m. EDT; Blessing of the Stands at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
Friday, Sept. 16: Annual Cannoli Eating Contest on the Feast Performance Stage located at the corner of Grand and Mott Streets at 2 p.m. EDT. Performance by Vito and The Elegants in the evening.
Saturday, Sept. 17: Grand Procession and Floats with Queen Skyla Marie Lombardi and Grand Marshal Joe Causi in the afternoon; Performance by Chaz Palminteri at 4 p.m. EDT.
Sunday, Sept. 18: Performance by Angelo Ruggiero and Rocco Mussita at 2 p.m. EDT; Gianni Russo (evening)
Monday, Sept. 19: Feast Day Mass and Procession at 6 p.m. EDT; Patrick Hale and Terese Sareo (evening)
Tuesday, Sept. 20: WKTU Broadcast at 3-6 p.m. EDT; Angelo Venuto (evening)
Wednesday, Sept. 21: Neopolitan Day 2 p.m. EDT; Opera Night (evening)
Thursday, Sept. 22: Marco Pezzano at 2 p.m. EDT; Christina Fontelli (evening)
Friday, Sept. 23: Z100 Live Broadcast at 2–5 p.m. EDT; Just Friends (evening)
Saturday, Sept. 24: “Cha Cha” Meatball Eating Contest hosted by Tony Danza at Ferrara’s; Cousin Brucie – Live Broadcast at 7-9 p.m. EDT.
Sunday, Sept. 25: Manhattan Skyline (Blood Drive at Youth Center); Jenna Esposito (evening)
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