Italian feast food and entertainment headlined the first annual Feast of San Gennaro on Hanover Street in Boston’s North End on September 21 through 23, 2018. A newly created statue of Saint Gennaro by the sculptor Ettore Marinelli was revealed just weeks after it was blessed by Pope Francis in person at the Vatican.
With near perfect September weather, crowds came out for three nights of outdoor dining and high-end entertainment including The Midtown Men, Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti, the New York Bee Gees, Tenor Giovanni Formisano and local favorites Vanessa Salvucci and Vinyl Groove.
Authentic pizza ovens were brought in as restaurants and food vendors served up classic Italian feast food of pizza, sausages, meatballs, pasta and cannoli. Major sponsors for this year’s event were regional casinos (including the soon to open, Encore Boston Harbor in Everett), area restaurants and businesses. On Sunday, a traditional procession was held through the streets of the North End followed by a Mass at St. Leonard Church with Karyn Polito, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts among other local officials Senator Joe Boncore and Representative Aaron Michlewitz.
The inaugural effort was organized by the Saint Gennaro Foundation Boston, a 501(c)3 non-profit, established by Frank DePasquale, Nick Varano and Pasquale Trotta. Organizers of this non-profit organization said proceeds will be used for autistic children charities, assisting parents and needy families with temporary housing, meals and transport assistance to hospital services in Boston.
San Gennaro is the patron saint of Naples and his feast day is September 19th. Separate from the Boston festival, the famous New York San Gennaro feast started on Mulberry Street in 1926. Boston organizers said they are confident that the San Gennaro Feast will return to the North End for its second run next year.