The spirit of Sicily will be coming to southwest Brooklyn once again, as Bensonhurst gears up for the 42nd Annual Feast of Santa Rosalia.
The feast, known by locals as the 18th Avenue Festival, will span 18th Avenue (aka Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard) from 65th Street to 75th Street from Thursday, August 17 through Sunday, August 27.
“It’s a tradition that’s been passed down from generation to generation. They do a feast every year in Palermo, Sicily to honor the patron saint of Palermo, Santa Rosalia,” explained Angelo Timoneri, an organizer of the feast and treasurer of Figli de Santa Rosalia, a sponsor of the event. “At the end of the feast, we hold a procession where we take the saint to Saint Dominic Church and have a full mass.”
According to Timoneri, Santa Rosalia performed miracles in Palermo and has been honored in the town with an annual feast since 1624.
As part of the festivities along 18th Avenue, live music, games, rides and a variety of food will be available, according to Timoneri. Among the delicacies will be zeppole, rice balls and freshly-made brick oven pizza.
Timoneri noted that although the festival has continued to serve as a pillar of Italian heritage in Bensonhurst, it has come to attract a diverse crowd over the decades.
“The demographics have changed on 18th Avenue. For the last couple of years, people have come from all around Staten Island, New Jersey and all parts of Brooklyn to enjoy the feast. It’s multicultural and not just an Italian feast, it’s a Brooklyn feast,” said Timoneri.
Several honorary guests will also be in attendance at the feast, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Borough President Eric Adams, Councilmember Vincent Gentile, Councilmember Mark Treyger, State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblymember Peter Abbate.
The feast will run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., with the street being closed to vehicular traffic during that time. For more info, search StRosalia Feast on Facebook, or @Strosaliafeast on Twitter and Instagram.