The sights, sounds and aromas of all things Italian will fill the air on Main Street between 10th and 13th Avenues in downtown Belmar, New Jersey, for the 7th Annual San Gennaro Festival, all day on Saturday and Sunday, September 15th and 16th.
The festivities begin at 10:00am on Saturday with a Mass celebrated in Italian at St. Rose Church located at 603 7th Avenue in Belmar. Following the Mass, the traditional procession of the statue of San Gennaro will travel down Main Street to the festival site, where guests can enjoy authentic Italian foods, wines, games and activities.
Admission is free to the Belmar San Gennaro Festival, where visitors of all ages will find plenty of food and fun. A sampling of the mouth-watering Italian specialties includes sausage and peppers, Philly cheesesteaks, zeppole, arancini (rice balls) of every description and create-your-own-pasta, just to name a few. Main Street will be lined with an assortment of exhibitors and specialty craft and food vendors and there will be free games and activities for the kids. The Peroni Beer Garden, adjacent to the entertainment stage at 12th and Main Streets, offers a cool respite with beers and Italian wines for the 21-and-over crowd. Dance to Italian favorites on Saturday, as Paolo and Laurentina of the Rhythm Stompers offer free dance lessons, along with exciting dance demonstrations that will have the whole crowd up and swingin’ along.
Festivities kick off on Sunday with a program by the Robin McGill School of Dance at 11:30am, followed by songstress Vanessi Racci with Italiana Fresca, spinning a jazz-inspired twist on Italian American classics. Ron Sunshine & Orchestra will bring plenty of swing to complete the entertainment line-up for the day.
If you like cannoli, register for the annual Sweet! Cannoli Eating Contest, set to take place at 1:00pm on Saturday on 10th Avenue. There will be prizes for winners in both the adult and kids division. Registration is $10 in advance only and adults must sign for 12-and-under contestants and gets you a Sweet! T-shirt complete with year-long discounts at the shop and all the cannoli you can eat. All contest proceeds benefit MidAtlantic Bulldog Rescue (MABR).
The Belmar San Gennaro Festival is an occasion to honor Italian American descendants who have made a positive impact on the quality of life in our area. Honorees Antoinette Aumack, Businesswoman of the Year and Joseph Vrola, Businessman of the Year; Daughter of San Gennaro Rosemary Papa, a longtime member of The Belmar Woman’s Club and Son of San Gennaro Gabriel Viscardi were celebrated at a dinner on Monday, held at Taylor Pavilion on Ocean Avenue. For more information visit [email protected].