3 Great San Gennaro Festivals – Los Angeles, New York City, and Las Vegas

The Feast of San Gennaro is an annual Italian tradition that has spread around the country to many American cities. Many cities hold their own Feast of San Gennaro festivals, and they are always filled with fun, music, and delicious Italian food. Here’s my look at three of the best San Gennaro festivals to visit:

Los Angeles – Late September

I’ll be attending the Galbani Italian Feast of San Gennaro Los Angeles, which kicks off with a party hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla. The Los Angeles event is from Friday through Sunday, September 28-30, in Hollywood just off Hollywood Boulevard. I went last year and had a great time. There are rides for the kids, great music and performances, cold beer, and great food.

New York City – Mid-September

New York City’s Little Italy presents one of the oldest (86 years) and one of the best Feast of San Gennaro festivals. It’s an 11-day event virtually closing down the streets of the Little Italy neighborhood and worth a trip just for the experience. The 2012 event was September 13-23, and the 2013 feast will be around the same dates. Every day is filled with great music and entertainment and amazing Italian food.

Las Vegas – Early September

The desert resort gets into the Italian spirit with their own six-day event. In 2012, the 33rd annual San Gennaro Feast Las Vegas was held at the Silverton Casino. Entertainment this year included Vegas legend Clint Holmes, along with the cast of “Jersey Boys,” a great show about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The event included a huge vendor area with all kinds of Italian delights to eat.

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History of San Gennaro

The event is actually a Catholic religious festival celebrating the life of Saint Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, Italy, who died a martyr in the year 305. In Naples, the Saint is celebrated twice a year on the first Sunday in May and on September 19, when worshipers carry an image of the saint through the streets of Naples in a procession. The early Italian immigrants in New York carried on the tradition in the early part of the 20th century, and the event has evolved into a huge street festival, party, and celebration of Italian culture.

Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog travel4people.com. You can follow him on Twitter @thefredsherman.

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