Feasts' starting in early June and continuing through August. The Feasts are celebrations of saints and are organized and benefit North End Religious Societies connected to the saints. They typically close a couple streets and have food, religious ceremonies, games, concerts, and parades.
This past weekend the girl and I went to the Fisherman's Feast . The Fisherman's Feast is "based on a tradition goes back to the 16th century in Sciacca Sicily. The Feast is based on the devotion of the fishermen from Sciacca to the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help). When the fishermen immigrated to America in the early 1900's, they brought their traditions with them."
It was the first time either of us had been to a Feast so we didn't really know what to expect. We made our way over to the North End and wandered around (following the noise and smell of food) until we found it. There were lots and lots of food stalls serving all kinds of Italian food. There were huge arancini (rice balls), sausage with peppers and onions, pasta of all kinds, fresh filled to order cannoli and Italian cookies and other treats. There were even ice cream cannoli! We wandered through the streets enjoying the smells of the food, looking at the souvenir stalls (lots of t-shirts and other gifts), and listening to the music. We ended up buying some really good almond cantuccini, basically another name for biscotti.
After wandering through the Feast, we headed for some gelato (the hazelnut was amazing!) from the little shop next to the Citizen's Bank on the corner of Hanover and Cross Street. We took it over to the Greenway and did some people watching while the sun was setting, I was amazed at how busy the area was, it's really nice to see!
This weekend, August 26-29, is the St. Anthony's Feast. It is the last of the big Feasts and is usually one of the biggest. Hopefully the hurricane doesn't completely wash it out! If you have a chance to get down there, I would definitely suggest it, it's a nice way to spend a little time outside.