It’s that time of year. Time for different parts of our state to light up weekly with festival after festival – filled with tons of “fair food”, over priced rides, and entertainment for people of all ages.
Having been involved in politics for several years, I guess you could say I’ve become somewhat of a “festival aficionado”, as it is typical for politicians and their supporters to frequent such events for politicking purposes. From the Flower Market with its great shopping, to the Greek Festival with its to-die-for baklava, there is a festival for just about any weekend of the spring and summer.
But my personal favorite, and the dieter’s nightmare, is just around the corner: The St. Anthony’s Italian Festival (only because is no local festival of its kind for the Irish, of course).
Much like St. Patty’s Day for the Irish, this is the one time of year where, at least in Delaware, everyone’s Italian! Between their decadent food, jovial and outgoing spirit, and dancing, it’s easy to see how this festival has stolen the hearts of Delawareans for decades.
As the week commences, I wanted to get a behind the scenes look at the planning, and make my case for why I think it’s the king of all festivals in Delaware.
What Makes the Italian Festival Different?
No surprise, this event is made successful through the collaborative efforts of over 200 volunteer a night, dozens of sponsors (namely WSFS, AB & C, Wilmington University, St. Francis Hospital), and a hard-working steering committee. Anthony Albence, a member of the St. Anthony’s Festival Steering Committee, along with about 10 or so other core people. Believe it or not, they have already started planning for 2012!
Anthony touted the beautiful and historic Catholic Church, St. Anthony’s, as the hallmark of the event, as well as the fact that you see old friends from all over the state.
“Everyone comes home to the Italian Festival. You get to see everyone that you would never really see much, who’s married, who’s moved…” said Anthony.
It’s true; something about the Italian culture makes you feel like you’ve left with a handful of new friends, even if you don’t see someone you know! Aside from the unmistakable spirit of the festival, the real reason most people love the Italian culture is the food.
Local vendors including Café Gelato (Gelato and Paninis), Pomodoro, La Casa Pasta (well, pasta), Serpes Bakery (Pasteries), and Café Antonionan (Pizza) will band together in what has historically been a crowd pleasing selection of treats.
What Not to Miss
As always, the festival kicks-off with one of the more challenging 5Ks in Delaware at 9 am on Sunday, June 12th (trust me it’s a tough but beautiful course—and sure offsets some of the calories you’re about to consume!)
New this year, there will be a homemade wine making competition, a new Italian Fiat giveaway, and a chance to win an Italian vacation to Rome, Florence, and several other popular destinations in Italy. There will also be a Renaissance Garden Display (donated by DiSabatino Landscaping) and of course a vast array of musical performances from the Wilmington Children’s Chorus to any number of cover bands.
My favorite part: the pizza, the pastries, the alcohol-infused Italian water ice, and the dancing! Plus, don’t miss one of my favorite cover bands, Group Therapy, on Saturday, June 18th.
Tickets to the festival are $5 a person but you can also buy a weekly pass online for $12. To get more details including schedules etc. check out their social media rich, easy to use website at http://www.stanthonysfestival.com/.
Now that you’ve heard my case, tell us what your favorite Delaware festival is and why by voting or commenting below.