First Night of the Festa di Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst

Elation as end-of-summer celebration survives paperwork dispute

Brooklyn Daily
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Photo gallery

Anziano: Nicola Lauro enjoys an ice cream cone at the Feast.
Pescatrice: Francescia Esposito caught a fish and a popsicle at the street fair.
Palla: Ava Deliz rolls a ball at one of the several game stands.
Heroes: Thomas Guardavaccaro, Caroline Mannino, and Maria Guardavaccaro chow down on the Feast’s famous sausage and peppers.

Saints alive!

The Festa di Santa Rosalia — also known as the 18th Avenue Feast — kicked off on Aug. 22 with full Italian tricolor raiment, bucketloads of sausages and peppers, and block after block of games and rides. Thousands converged on the main neighborhood thoroughfare between 67th and 75th streets for the festivities that have capped summer in Bensonhurst for some seven decades.

The celebration of the patron saint of Palermo, in Sicily, came as both relief and rapture to the organizers, after a paperwork dispute with the city almost took the tradition off the calendar for the second time in three years.

“Viva Santa Rosalia!” declared Damiano Carcione, president of the Santa Rosalia Society, the group that puts the event on each year.

The city initially denied the Italian social club’s street-closure permits, saying the group had failed to include vital tax documents. The organization claimed that a government pencil pusher had lost the missing papers, and resubmitted. An 11th hour decision from the mayor’s office allowed the event to go forward.

“I’m very happy we surpassed those issues and were able to have a beautiful Feast,” said Carcione.

The street fair will continue every day until Sept. 1.

Festa di Santa Rosalia (18th Avenue between 67th and 75th streets in Bensonhurst) Aug. 22 to Sept. 1, 4:30 pm.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
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