By Dana Ferrante ’17
Unlike a restaurant, food truck, or vending machine, the opportunity to go to saint feasts only comes around once a year. No cancellations, no rain checks. These feasts come, they conquer, and they make you wait a whole year for their next appearance.
We don’t want you to miss out, so mark your calendars for August 29th-31st, when Saint Anthony’s Street Festival takes over Boston’s North End. For anyone out there who has never been outside Harvard Square, the North End is basically Boston’s “Little Italy.” It’s where you’ll find the city’s best cannoli, more fettucine alfredo than you’ve ever thought possible, and of course, gelato on every street corner. While we highly recommend that one day you make your way to Hanover Street (essentially the Appian Way of the North End) to discover for yourself what treasures lie down its winding alleyways, there’s no better time for an introduction to this Italian-American village than Saint Anthony’s feast.
Opening ceremonies begin with a small procession of Saint Anthony on Friday at 7pm, with a musical performance starting soon after at 7:30pm, but the real party starts (and practically never finishes) on the weekend. By noontime on Saturday, the Streets will be flooded with white stalls, as local businesses offer their best to the hungry crowds. Arancini, calzones, cannoli, calamari, hazelnuts, sausage and peppers, torrone, pizzele, clams, caprese sandwiches —and that’s just the beginning.
Throughout the entire weekend, Pizzeria Regina will be at the open air piazza selling pizza, Stella Artois, and of course, vino, produced by The Naked Grape. This year’s festival also features a tasting tent and culinary stage sponsored by Filippo Berio Olive Oil and New England Center for Arts and Technology. While at the tasting tent, you can try several varieties of Filippo Berio olive oil using Parziale Bakery’s freshly baked bread and learn useful olive oil tricks and tips. And if you like cooking just as much as you like eating, don’t miss the culinary stage, where local chefs will be showcasing their best Italian dishes. Demonstrations and tastings will run throughout the entire weekend, so whether you attend on Saturday, Sunday, or both, you won’t miss out on any of the culinary spectacle.
Amidst this gastronomical playground, there will be live music, masses, processions, dancing, carnival games, confetti, and of course, a giant statue of Saint Anthony covered with paper streamers by the time Sunday night rolls around.
And there’s more. The party and religious devotion continue onto Monday September 1st , with the celebration of Saint Lucy, complete with celebration and music throughout the day and a nighttime feast. If you didn’t have room for a sfogliatelle (also called a lobster tail) or arancini the first two days, you have one more chance to fill yourself up with Italian deliciousness.
In summary, these back-to-back saint feasts offer great food, a lively atmosphere, and a perfect opportunity to use that Italian accent you have been working on.
For a full schedule of events and times, check out the festivals’ website at: http://www.stanthonysfeast.com/schedule.html.