New York City’s Feast of San Gennaro celebrated its 89th year this month. The annual festival takes place in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood on Mulberry Street, which was settled by immigrants from the Old World nearly 100 years ago. The Feast of San Gennaro features parades, religious processions, musical events and plenty of food, including the famous cannoli eating competition.
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The festival opened Sept. 10 and runs through Sunday. Hollywood actor and Brooklyn-native Tony Danza, known for his roles in television series Taxi and Who's the Boss? and this season’s Broadway show Honeymoon in Vegas, served as the Grand Marshal at the grand procession opening event parade. Danza has attended the festival for many years. Community leaders and elected officials participated in the procession, which featured marching bands and floats.
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“This Feast of San Gennaro holds a special place in the place of Italian people everywhere,” said Joseph Mattone, President of Figli di San Gennaro, Inc., the non-profit that has sponsored the festival since 1996 and donated over $2 million to local organizations. "It is a festive period of faith and redemption, a time for remembrance and reconciliation, and a time for celebration.”
As part of the beloved festival’s annual tradition, street food vendors and restaurants offered up a variety of different foods and drinks, including sausages and pastas. Plenty of desserts were also available, including gelato, cannoli and zeppole. Food demonstrations and lecturers took place in the afternoons between 2 and 5 p.m.
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The 11-day festival features an annual salute to the patron saint of Naples, Saint Januarius whose feast day is Sept. 19. A celebratory mass was scheduled to be held in the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood. After the religious service, a procession with the statue of San Gennaro was scheduled to take place on the streets of Little Italy.
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