“Benvenuto in Italia”, which directly translates to ‘Welcome to Italy”, makes every New Yorker think of Little Italy. Every September for 11 days, it fills its streets with festivities for the Feast of San Gennaro. It is the best September event NYC has to offer, and this year’s San Gennaro Festival is expected to attract more than one million people from around the globe!
Every day is filled with free music, parades, delicious authentic food, and entertainment which makes for a perfect walk around the historic streets. But there are a few special events that you do not want to miss!! The festivities kick off September 15 with the Italian jazz performer Johnny Mandolin, while Friday is dedicated to the famous grand Cannoli eating contest. The best news? This is the first year the competition is open to amateurs.
You can currently register to enter the competition, where you will eat your way to the first prize of $250! (Of course, you can always stop by the “Cannoli King” at Caffe Palermo for just one or two treats.)
When your belly is filled with delicious cannolis, you will be ready to start the weekend with the exciting parade filled with red, white, and green floats and marching bands. The parade features Skyla Marie Lombardi and the Grand Marshal. Other events include a performance by the American actor, screenwriter, and producer Chazz Palminteri. He is best known for his Academy Award-nominated role for best supporting actor in Bullets over Broadway, A Bronx Tale (1993) and the recurring role of Shorty in Modern Family. Wednesday September 20th is Opera Night.
If you are starting to become hungry again after all the cannolis, the following week you can enter the Cha Cha Meatball eating competition (hosted by Tony Danza) at Ferrara’s.
San Gennaro beings September 14 and goes through September 24, from 11am to 11pm Sunday-Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.