Seattle’s San Gennaro Festival street fair brings the best Seattle Italian food and entertainment to the Georgetown neighborhood, located south of SODO and the Industrial District.
About the Georgetown neighborhood
One of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods, Georgetown is located west of I-5, and just north of Boeing Field. It is a thriving community of families, artists, local restaurants, retailers, and several industries.
Georgetown is prominently featured in multi-Grammy award winning singer Ed Sheeran’s 2017 music video adapted from his international hit song, “Shape of You,” filmed on location in Georgetown. Also, Seattle’s own Jennie Pegouskie, was the assistant production supervisor and co-star with Sheeran. Watch the YouTube video below:
Who was San Gennaro and why is he celebrated?
Saint Januarius (or San Gennaro in Italian) is the Patron Saint of Naples, was a bishop in the 3rd century. He is believed to have been martyred around 303 A.D. His bones and blood are preserved as relics in the Naples cathedral. The “Blood Miracle of St. Gennaro” reportedly happens when the dried blood in the reliquary liquifies. The miracle is said to occur three times a year: on the Saturday before the first Sunday of May, on September 19—the saint’s feast day, and on December 16—the anniversary of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The Feast Day of San Gennaro is celebrated every September 19 in Naples, Italy. His feast day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1926 by immigrants from Naples who had congregated along Mulberry Street in New York City, today known as “Little Italy”. Then, as it does today, the Italian-American community follows the traditions from Naples to celebrate San Gennaro’s Feast Day every September 19. Similar festivals are held in other cities including Belmar, New Jersey, Los Angeles, California, and since 2013 in Seattle, Washington. However, the San Gennaro Feast in Las Vegas is reported to be the biggest Italian food festival on this side of the Atlantic.
San Gennaro Festival in The Godfather
The San Gennaro Festival has made its way into popular culture., most notably in the Godfather movie series. In The Godfather Part II, young Vito Corleone assassinates Don Fanucci while the procession is underway in the streets, beginning Vito’s rise in the neighborhood Mafia. In The Godfather Part III, Vito’s grandson Vincent Mancini-Corleone, the illegitimate son of Sonny Corleone and Lucy Mancini (born shortly after Sonny’s violent death), assassinates rival Joey Zasa during the festival, causing widespread panic throughout New York’s Little Italy. Vincent ultimately succeeds Michael Corleone as Don of the Corleone family.
About the Seattle San Gennaro festival
In 2013, a group of Italian-Americans in Seattle decided to bring the wonderful tradition of the San Gennaro Festival to the Emerald city. The Seattle San Gennaro Festival celebrates the contribution of Italian-Americans to the city of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest region.
Puget Sound Blood Center holds a blood drive during the event, in honor of the Blood Miracle of St Gennaro. Proceeds from festival go to local charities. Past charities include: Treehouse, Camp Goodtimes, and Bloodworks NW. Other activities at the San Gennaro festival include the usual street fair fun: food vendors, beer and wine garden, children’s activities, music stage (featuring Italian-American bands), and Italian wares for sale.
Food at the Seattle San Gennaro festival
Listed below are some of the Italian foods you might find at the Seattle San Gennaro festival.
- Italian wines, sausages, and cheeses
- Antipasti (salami, olives, marinated vegetables, etc.) often served as hors d’oeuvres before a meal
- Bruschetta, an antipasto composed of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese
- Arancini, stuffed rice balls
- Pizza and pasta dishes
- Polenta (boiled cornmeal—favored over pasta in northern Italy)
- Zeppole, an Italian fried pastry, otherwise known as a donut
- Lemon beverages.
- Cannoli (“little tube”)—a sweet snack consisting of pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, plus other ingredients such as nuts or chocolate
“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
In The Godfather, when Don Vito Corleone is nearly murdered after being gunned down at a fruit stand, Sonny Corleone orders Peter Clemenza (played by Richard Castellano) to kill Corleone’s bodyguard Paulie Gatto (played by Johnny Martino). Paulie had played a part in the assassination and also betrayed the Corleone family in other ways.
As caporegime (high ranking member of the family), Clemenza already selected Rocco Lampone as his new protégé. Clemenza, Rocco, and Paulie take a drive, picking up some cannoli along the way—a favorite of Clemenza’s wife. While out in the countryside, Clemenza asked Paulie to pull over so he could “take a leak”. While he was doing so, Rocco executed Paulie with three shots to the head.
Clemenza famously remarks, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
2023 San Gennaro Italian Street Festival in Georgetown
Vendors with food and Italian wares for sale, beer and wine garden, childrens’ activities, facepainting (tips welcomed), kids scavenger hunt, and 3-days of Italian music and Italian bands.
- When: September 8-10, 2023. Friday 6-10pm. Saturday 10am-10pm. Sunday 11am-4pm.
- Saturday procession 1:00am: procession of the saint, blessing, and prayer.
- Location: Georgetown Neighborhood in south Seattle.
- Parking: limited; paid lots nearby (off of Airport) but be prepared for a bit of a walk. Taxi/rideshare or public transportation recommended.
- Admission: Free and family-friendly.
More information on the Seattle San Gennaro Festival website.
Food & Drink events on our calendar
Listed below are upcoming food festivals, beer and wine tastings, and other food or beverage events.
Friday, December 8, 2023
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Thursday, December 14, 2023
Friday, December 15, 2023
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Thursday, December 21, 2023
Friday, December 22, 2023
Saturday, December 23, 2023
Thursday, December 28, 2023
Friday, December 29, 2023
Saturday, December 30, 2023
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Friday, January 5, 2024
Saturday, January 6, 2024
Thursday, January 11, 2024
Friday, January 12, 2024
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Thursday, January 18, 2024
Friday, January 19, 2024
Saturday, January 20, 2024
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Friday, January 26, 2024
Saturday, January 27, 2024
Friday, February 2, 2024
Saturday, February 3, 2024
But wait, there’s more!
- Find more foods festivals in the Puget Sound region.
- Or, find more cultural heritage festivals in the Puget Sound region.
- There are more festivals of all kinds on our big list of annual festivals, fairs, and parades.
- And here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- Find free and cheap things to do every day on the Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
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Georgetown neighborhood, Seattle, WA