A Bensonhurst tradition continues.
The annual Feast of Santa Rosalia, which starts at 68th Street and ends at Bay Ridge Parkway along 18th Avenue, also known as Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard, began on Thursday, August 16.
Per usual, the festival includes rides, music, games, drink and of course, food.
“The Feast of Santa Rosalia, better known as the 18th Avenue Feast to locals, is a longstanding tradition in our community,” said District Manager of Community Board 11 Marnee Elias-Pavia. “The demographics in Bensonhurst have shifted. Today, we are a diverse and multicultural community. The feast provides our residents with an opportunity to learn about the culture, music and food of our Italian American community. Food and music bring all together.”
Attendees also said the 10-day festival was off to a great start.
“I was just up there Saturday night,” said Dyker Heights resident Thomas Tacopino. “I went for the zeppole. I also enjoyed the band, getting my sausage and pepper sandwich, and just browsing the feast.”
He brought a friend, who also enjoyed the festivities.
“He lives on Staten Island and plays the goldfish game all the time,” he said. “He won three fish. He also bought jewelry. It’s always nice time. The feast is a tradition for this neighborhood. I’ve gone most years since I was a young boy. It was always something to look forward to during the summer. Times have changed with the neighborhood, but it’s always still an enjoyment to go.”
Vincent Innocente, who performed with his band Cause and the Effects, felt the positive atmosphere throughout the evening.
“We performed Saturday night,” he said. “It was our first time performing at the feast and we had a blast. Despite the rain, the turnout seemed great and people were enjoying themselves. It was an honor to follow in the footsteps of the great bands that have been playing here for years. A lot of us band members have Italian and Brooklyn roots, so it was a really cool experience for us. The food was great too. I think the feast is a wonderful tradition and brings the neighborhood together to celebrate the Italian heritage of the area.”
The feast will conclude on Sunday, August 26. There will be a religious procession at 3 p.m. beginning at 18th Avenue and 72nd Street. There will also be a mass at St. Domenic Church at 4 p.m. at 20th Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/138536509512623.