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Italian Festivals in the USA

For those of us who live in Italian American communities, festival time can be better than Christmas. Whether a festival for a patron saint, traditional foods or ethnic pride, Italian American festivals bring out the best in the community and in many places are the highlight of the year. Everywhere the early Italian immigrants settled they brought with them their traditions and the strongest of these bonds to the Old Country was the Catholic faith and its adherents to its calendar of saints feast days.

Besides the major religious feasts celebrated widely, there were also many feasts dedicated to local saints and these traditions were reintroduced once immigrants from the same parts of Italy starting forming their own enclaves in places like New York and Boston. Some were small affairs held in households or in the side streets, while others grew to huge celebrations complete with amusements and live performances all illuminated by multi-colored lights hanging above the streets.

Unfortunately, as the descendants of the first immigrants left the old neighborhoods, many festivals dwindled down until they ceased to be celebrated. The Italian ethnicity was being quickly assimilated into the larger American culture and with this change, many forgot these traditions and their ancestral language. However, on a positive note resurgence in ethnic pride among Italian Americans has seen a rebirth of the Italian festival in the last twenty years, with new festivals springing up all across the country. Not only are these new festivals gaining momentum, but it seems that in many places the younger generations are carrying on the older festivals with renewed gusto – and becoming a boon to their respective city’s tourism in the process.

Traditional Religious Italian Festivals

These are the festivals that the original immigrants brought with them and continued to practice in places such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. Many of these have been celebrated for close to one hundred years and are continuations of even older Italian festivals dating from the middle ages. The focal point of these festivals is usually a particular saint that is significant to the community, be it a local patron saint or a saint dedicated to a local occupation. In New York City’s Little Italy descendants of the original Neapolitan immigrants venerate San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples while in many fishing communities (like my hometown of Gloucester, Ma) St. Peter is venerated as the patron saint of fishermen. A large part of the veneration process includes an image of the saint, often a beautifully carved statue that is paraded through the community and displayed at the local church or an elaborately decorated temporary altar. Many of the traditional festivals still hold a nine-day session of the rosary known as a novena before the actual feast begins on that particular saint’s feast day. Once the feast begins, festivities can range from solemn processions to boisterous parades, from Italian music and games to a full-blown carnival.

In today’s world where the festivals can often be taken for granted as just a great party, it is the novena, and the other religious aspects that keep the true link to the past alive. Our secular society is often at odds with the value systems that brought about these religious festivals and yet it seems that the younger generations still enjoy participating. The older generations often lament the loss of faith in the young people and wonder how religious festivals can survive without losing their soul. However, the fact is nothing in human culture is static and every generation celebrates in their own way, often against the wishes of the elders. Times have changed but the Italian American spirit remains strong and with the help of corporate and community sponsorship, some of these traditional festivals are actually expanding. Some of the larger festivals have become annual tourist attractions, bringing in needed revenue to the old Italian American communities that hold the events and often benefiting the city as a whole.

The New Italian  Festivals in the US

Within the last twenty years, many Italian American communities nationwide have started to either rekindle old traditions or start new ones. These new festivals are often inspired by ethnic pride rather than religion, but they still bring out the same spirit and of course, a lot of fun. The old Heart of Italy neighborhood of Chicago is now home to an annual food and wine festival in honor of the Northern Italian roots of the first immigrants. Seattle may not seem like an “Italian” city, but the first Italian immigrants arrived over one hundred years ago. Today Festa Seattle is a large event held in the heart of the city and includes everything from food and wine (including a grape stomp), music, sports, film festivals and even an Italian auto show. One of the newest Italian American festivals is the six year old San Gennaro festival held in Los Angeles in honor of both the Neapolitan saint and the older festival held in New York. The feast and its non-profit foundation (to benefit the city’s underprivileged children) was organized and supported by prominent LA residents of Italian heritage such as comedian Jimmy Kimmel, producer Doug DeLuca and honorary members such as Tony Danza and Joe Mantegna

Whether a traditional feast or one of the newer events, Italian American festivals are a great time for everyone and are worth seeking out. Best of all is that most festivals take place in the summer or early fall so can be included into a vacation. Make sure to contact local chambers of commerce to find out about even more Italian American festivals. There are hundreds out there but most do not have their own web sites.

By Justin Demetri

Italian-American Events Listed by State:

Please email us about your festival and we will add it to this list.

Arizona Italian Festivals

Peoria – San Gennaro Festival: sangennarofeast.com

California Italian Festivals

Carlsbad – Festa Italiana: http://www.sonsofitalysandiego.org

Los Angeles – Feast of San Gennaro: www.feastofla.org

Oakland – Temescal Street Festival and Festa Italiana: August/September

Redwood City – Columbus Day Italian American Heritage Celebration: October

Sacramento – Festa Italiana: http://www.italiancenter.net

San Diego – Little Italy Festa: http://www.littleitalysd.com

San Diego – Cinema Sud, Italian Film Festival: http://www.sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com/

San Francisco – North American Trentino Convention

San Francisco – Feste of the Madonna del Lume: September

San Jose – Italian Family Festival: http://www.iahfsj.org

San Juan Capistrano – Italian Celebration of the Swallows Return: http://www.missionsjc.com

San Mateo – Festa Italiana: July

San Rafael – Italian Film Festival: http://www.italianfilm.com

Santa Barbara – Festa Italiana: October

Santa Rosa – Festa Italiana: September

Visalia – Putignano-Visalia Sister City Italian Festival: October

Colorado Italian Festivals

Denver – Feast of St. Rocco: August

Connecticut Italian Festivals

Ansonia – Italian Festa: August

New Haven – St. Andrew Festa

New Haven – Feast of St. Anthony di Padova: June

North Haven – Italian Festival of Angels: August

Norwich – The Taste of Italy: September

Stratford – Italian Picnic: August

Waterbury – San Donato Festa: August

Waterbury – Lady of Mount Carmel Festival

Westport – Festival Italiano: July

Delaware Italian Festivals

Wilmington – St. Anthony’s Italian American Festival: http://www.stanthonynet.org

Wilmington – Vendemnia Da Vinci, Wine & Gravy Contest: http://www.societadavinci.org/

Florida Italian Festivals

Coachman Park, Clearwater – The LIADO San Gennaro Festa

Delray Beach – Columbus Day Italian Festa: October

Fort Walton Beach – Festa Italiana Columbus Day Weekend: http://www.fwbchamber.org/

Jupiter – Sorrento Cheese Feast of Little Italy: http://www.feastoflittleitaly.com

Palm Coast – Festa: http://www.iascpc.com

Port St. Lucie – Taste of Little Italy: http://www.tasteoflittleitaly.net

Tampa – St. Joseph Festa

Tampa, Centennial Park – Ybor City – Festa Italiana

Tallahassee- Festa Italiana – February

Venice – Italian Feast and Carnival

Vero Beach – Columbus Day Fest: October

Vero Beach – Italian Food Festival

Illinois Italian Festivals

Chicago Heights – Feast of St. Lorenzo: August

Chicago, Northlake – St. Joseph: March

Chicago, Northlake – Villa Day: September

Farmington – Italian Fest: September

Melrose Park – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival: July

Peoria, Hickory Grove Park – Annual Summer Festa Picnic: http://www.italianamericansociety.com

Rockford – Festa Italiana: August

Springfield – Ethnic Festival: September

Stone Park – Feast of St. Francesco di Paola: August

Stone Park – Italian Day Picnic: August

Stone Park – Feast of St. Beato Giovanni Liccio di Caccamo: May

Indiana Italian American Festivals

Clinton – Little Italy Festival: http://www.thelittleitalyfestival.org/


Louisville – Festa Italiana: http://wetheitalians.com/default/louisville-celebrates-italian-roots

Newport – Italianfest

Louisiana Italian American festivals

Harvey – St. Rosalie Parish Fair: September

New Orleans – Maria Santissima Della Favara Feast: September


Boston – Fisherman’s Feast (Madonna del Soccorco di Sciacca): www.fishermansfeast.com

Boston – Madonna Della Cava Festival: August

Boston – Madonna del Grazie: July

Boston – Italia Unita: https://www.facebook.com/Italia-Unita-119288271485706/

Boston – Saint Anthony’s Feast: http://www.saintanthonysfeast.com

Cambridge – Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian: https://www.cosmas-and-damian.org/

East Boston – Italia Unita Festival: https://www.facebook.com/Italia-Unita-119288271485706/

Gloucester – St. Peter’s Fiests

Lawrence – Feast of the Three Saints Labor Day

Malden – St. Rocco Feast Society: http://www.maldencatholic.org

North Adams – Italian Street Fair

Worcester – Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: July


Baltimore – Feast of St. Anthony: http://www.littleitalymd.com

Baltimore – Feast of San Gabriel: http://www.littleitalymd.com

Mitchellville – Annual Villa Rosa Italian Festival: September


Portland – Feast of Assumption & St. Rocco’s Street Bazaar: August


Grand Rapids – Festa Italiana: August

Sterling Heights – Italian Festival: July


Chisolm – Festa Italiana: July

Duluth – Italian American Festival


Saint Louis – Columbus Day Parade and Festival: October

North Carolina

Charlotte – Ciao, Italia, Italian Festival


Omaha – La Festa Italiana Labor Day Weekend: September

New Jersey

Bayonne – Italian Carnival: August

Gloucester County – Italian Heritage Festival: September

Hammonton – Feast of Mount Carmel

Hoboken – St. Ann’s Italian Festival: http://stannhoboken.com/

Hoboken – Hoboken Italian Festival:http://www.hobokenitalianfestival.com

Jersey City – La Festa Italiana: http://www.holyrosarychurch.com/feast.htm

Lodi – Festa di San Giuseppe: http://www.saintjosephsociety.org

North Wildwood – Italian American Weekend: June

Oakhurst – Italian American Festival: August

Union – Columbia Italian Club

West Windsor – Mercer Country Italian American Festival: http://www.italianamericanfestival.com ( promoted by Barry Chiorello http://www.barrychiorello.com ): The festival features food from regional Italian restaurants, an Italian market,
art, memorabilia, cooking demonstrations, book readings, music including national recording acts, dancing, amusement rides, children’s entertainment, bocce and fireworks.

Wildwood – Festa Italiana: September

Scotch Plains-Fanwood – St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church and Academy and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Chapter of UNICO present their Italian Feast. This is feast an annual tradition in honor of San Nicola di Bari. There are rides, great food, music and games for all ages. Nightly 50/50drawings and a Super 50/50 on Sunday. The 2009 feast will be celebrated Labor Day Weekend – Friday September 4th through Monday, September 7th. The hours are 4:30pm to 10:30pm daily. Come join the festivities! 2032 Westfield Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ


Las Vegas – San Gennaro Feast:http://www.sangennarofeast.com

Reno – Eldorado Great Italian Festival:http://www.eldoradoreno.com

New York

Annual Italian Festival – Cellini Lodge #2206
Michael J. Tully Park (Indoor Pool),
Denton Avenue / Evergreen
New Hyde Park

6PM-11PM (W/T/F) 3PM-11PM (S/S)

International Food Court, Zeppoles, Pastries, Rides, Las Vegas Games of Chance including Black Jack, Vendors, Musical Entertainment (each evening), Fireworks (Sat) and Community Appreciation Day (Sunday 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM ~ FREE ADMISSION plus ½ PRICE PASTA).

Musical Entertainment:
Wednesday – The Gianni Monti (Italian Night)
Thursday – Sweetwater
Friday – Risky Business
Saturday – Don Felice (Italian Night)
Sunday – The PJ Day Trippers (Beatles Tribute Band)

Admission: Adults $1.00 and children under 8 FREE / FREE on Sunday 3PM – 5 PM plus 1/2 price pasta

Name: Cellini Lodge #2206 – The Sons of Italy
Phone Number: 516-747-1680
Bronx – St. Anthony Feast: July

Bronx – Mount Carmel Feast: July

Brooklyn – Feast of the Giglio: http://www.OLMCfeast.com

Buffalo – Sorrento Cheese Italian Heritage Festival: http://www.buffaloitalianfestival.com

Canandaigua – Canandaigua Italian Festival: http://www.bardeenenterprises.com/italianfest.htm

Glen Clove – Tomato Festival: August

Glen Clove – Feast of St. Rocco: July to August

Hempstead – Hofstra University Italian Festival: https://www.hofstra.edu/

Hulbert on – St. Rocco Italian Festival: September

Manhattan – San Gennaro Festival: http://www.sangennaro.org

Mechanicville – Feast of the Assumption: August

New Hyde Park – Long Island Italian Festival: August

New York – St. Gandolfo Feast: June

Oyster Bay – St. Rocco Festival: July

Poughkeepsie – Festa Italiana:http://www.theitaliancenter.com

Rochester – Festa Italiana:http://www.iaccrochester.org

Syracuse – A Taste of Italy/Festa Italiana: http://www.festaitaliana.bizland.com/

Utica – Festival of Saints Cosmos and Damian: September

Valhalla – Italian Festival: July

Watertown – Mount Carmel Italian Religious Festival: September

Watertown – Bravo Italian Festival: September

White Plains – Festa Italiana https://sjeolmc.org/events/festa

White Plains – St. Anthony of Padua Church Festa Italiana: June


Akron – Summit County Italian-American Festival:http://www.it-am.org

Canton – Italian American Festival:http://www.cantonitalianfesta.org

Cleveland – Italian American Summer Festival:http://www.italianamericansummerfestival.com

Cleveland – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival: July

Cleveland – Italian Film Festival: September

Cleveland – Little Italy Feast of the Assumption: August

Columbus – Columbus Italian Festival:http://www.columbusitalianfestival.com

Lowellville – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festa: July

Niles – Italian American Festival: July

Warren – Warren Italian Festival: August

Youngstown – Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Festival: https://www.olmcfeast.com/


McAlester – Italian Festival: http://www.italianfestival.org

Tulsa – Taste of Italy: http://www.italianamericansocietyoftulsa.com


Portland – Festa Italiana:http://www.festa-italiana.org


Aliquippa – Festa di San Rocco:http://www.sanrocco.org

Crabtree – Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel:http://www.rizzosmalabarinn.com

Bloomfield – Little Italy Days: September

Bristol – Lions Italian Festival Day: August

Dunmore – Italian Festival: August

Easton – Tempo Italiano

Erie – St. Paul’s Church Italian Festival: August

Erie – St. Paul’s Festival of the Assumption: August

Erie – St. Joseph’s Day Celebration: March

Erie – Mazzini Civic Association Italian American Picnic: July

New Kensington – Festa Italiana: https://www.mountsaintpeter.org/

Norristown – Maria Santissima del Soccorso di Sciacca Festa: August

Norristown – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival: July

Norristown – Santissimo Salvatore di Montella Festival: August

Old Forge – Felittese Festival:http://felitto.net

Philadelphia – Feast of St. Anthony di Padova: June

Philadelphia – Padre Pio Festival at Annunciation BVM: September

Philadelphia – Northeast Italian Festival: September

Philadelphia – St. Vendemmia Festival: http://www.vendemmiafoundation.org

Pittsburgh – Festa Italia: October

Scranton – Italian Festival:http://www.lafestaitaliana.org

Vandergrift – Festa Italiana di Vandergrift: https://festaitaliana.us/index.html

Rhode Island Newport –

Festa Italiana: October

Providence – Italian Arts and Music Festival

Westerly – Mount Carmel Feast: July

South Carolina

Myrtle Beach – Sons of Italy Italian Festival: September

Tennessee Italian Festivals

Memphis – Memphis Italian Festival:http://www.memphisitalianfestival.com

Nashville – Italian Street Fair: September

Texas Italian Festivals

Houston – Italian Festival:www.tourtexas.com


Salt Lake City, Utah Italian Festival
“FERRAGOSTO” celebrates the traditional Italian arts & crafts, music, dance and delicious food of the
Italian communities living in the Salt Lake Valley.
The Festival is a celebration of Italian Art, Music, Entertainment, Games such as “bocce ball”
and Food that’s an Art all its own!

August 23-24, 2013

Family Oriented Event

1929 South 2300 East, Salt Lake City, UT
Friday, August 23
5:00pm to 9:00pm                Saturday, August 24
10:30am to 9:00pm

Virginia Italian Festivals

Alexandria – Italian Festival: September

Richmond – Italian Street Festival

Richmond – Saint Joseph Italian Festival: http://www.sjfestival.com

Washington Italian Festivals

Seattle – Festa Primavera:http://www.danteseattle.org

Seattle – Festa Italiana Seattle: http://www.festaseattle.com

Walla Walla – Italian Heritage Days Festa & Parade

Wisconsin Italian Festivals

Milwaukee – Festa Italiana – Italian art, food and entertainment, July.

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