Seattle’s San Gennaro Festival street fair brings together the best Seattle Italian food and entertainment in the Georgetown neighborhood, located south of SODO and the Industrial District. Festivities include food vendors, Italian wares for sale, beer and wine garden, children’s activities, and music stage featuring Italian-American bands.
Some of the Italian food you might find include pasta, pizza, polenta, sausage, cheese, wine, antipasti (salami, olives, marinated vegetables, etc.), bruschetta (an antipasto grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese), arancini (stuffed rice balls), cannoli (Italian pastries whose name means “little tube”, consisting of pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and possibly other ingredients such as nuts or chocolate.), zeppole (an Italian fried pastry aka donut), and lemon beverages.
An added feature in 2017 is the La Cucina Galbani cooking stage featuring local cooking talent along with Galbani Chef Marco. Egidio Galbani began making Italian cheese more than 130 years ago. Today, Galbani Cheese continues to craft Italian cheeses, including mozzarella, string cheese, ricotta, and mascarpone.
Galbani Cheese earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest cannolo (262.5 lbs), created by Lactalis American Group, Inc., makers of Galbani cheese, and Golden Cannoli Shells Company (both USA) at the Feast of Little Italy Italian Festival in Jupiter, Florida, USA, on 9 November 2014.
The Seattle San Gennaro Festival happens every September. The festival begins on Friday night and runs all day Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free and San Gennaro is very family-friendly.
2018 San Gennaro Festival in Seattle
When: September 7-9, 2018. Hours: Friday 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm, Sunday: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Where: On Angelo Street in the Georgetown neighborhood in south Seattle.
What: Enjoy Italian cuisine, a beer and wine garden with strolling musicians, Italian-American musicians and music on the main stage, and a kids’ area. Free admission.
On Saturday morning, there will be a traditional procession and blessing to Saint Januarius (San Gennaro).
Kids will be invited to participate in the cheese building contest to see who can build the highest tower out of Galbani string cheese.
During the Seattle San Gennaro Festival, keep your eye out for “Stringster”, who will be handing out free samples, coupons, and other fun stuff.
The San Gennaro Foundation will hold two special raffles this year. Raffle #1: Win a Vespa! $5 per ticket. Raffle #2: Win a trip to Italy!! $10 per ticket. For more details on raffle prizes, or to purchase tickets now, visit: http://www.sangennarofestivalseattle.org/raffle.html
History of the San Gennaro Festival
In September 1926, Italian immigrants from Naples in New York City congregated along Mulberry Street in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan to continue a tradition they had followed in the old country: the Feast of San Gennaro (Italian), aka Saint Januarius (Latin), the Patron Saint of their home city.
The New York San Gennaro Festival included the saint’s colorful statue being carried through the streets. Festival goers were invited to pin an offering to the ribbon streamers hung from the statue’s apron. This money was then distributed to the needy poor of the neighborhood.
The tradition continues to this day in New York City. Similar festivals have been sponsored in other cities, including Belmar in New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas Valley. In 2013, a group of Italians in Seattle decided to bring this wonderful tradition to the Emerald City.
The Seattle-based San Gennaro Foundation is a non-profit organization created to honor St Gennaro and his commitment to help people in need. It is the goal of the Foundation to raise money through events such as the San Gennaro Festival, which celebrates the Patron Saint of Naples, the Blood Miracle of St. Gennaro, and the contribution of Italian Americans to the Northwest.
The first San Gennaro Festival raised just $1000, and in a few years has grown to donate $15,000 per year to local charities including, Camp Goodtimes, Bloodworks NW, Cathedral Kitchen, and Plus One Foundation.
There will also be a blood drive at the festival for Puget Sound Blood Center, in honor of the Blood Miracle of St Gennaro.
About Saint Januarius and the Blood Miracle
As Bishop of Naples, Januarius hid his fellow Christians from the pagan Emperor Diocletian. Unfortunately, he was beheaded (in 305 C.E.) and today is a martyr and saint in the Roman Catholic church.
What is believed to be Januarius’ dried blood is kept in vials as a relic in Naples Cathedral. When exposed, the blood liquifies and bubbles. Thousands of people gather in Naples on September 19, Saint Januarius Day (commemorating his martyrdom) to see this phenomenon.
Saint Janurius is the Patron saint of Naples, blood banks, and volcanoes.
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Georgetown neighborhood, Seattle, WA