In 2011, the Feast of San Gennaro in NYC takes place from September 15 – 25, which means eleven wonderful days to stuff yourself with more food than you can possibly handle. Anyone who has ever attended knows the amount of food you'll come
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across and how tempted you'll be to eat a lot of it; it's hard to resist between the different sights and smells. Make sure to wear your pants with the elastic waistband. The first day of the feast starts out in fantastic fashion – with the annual Cannoli Eating Competition.
This is the 85th year of the Feast of San Gennaro, which started on September 19, 1926 to celebrate the Patron Saint of Naples. The 19th is considered the official feast day, and is also known as the Saint's Day. On this day, there is a mass at 5pm honoring San Gennaro followed by a religious procession at 6pm where the statue of San Gennaro is carried down Mott and Mulberry streets.
In addition to food, there's going to be clothing, jewelry and a variety of Italian inspired items to purchase. There's also going to be games and free music every day of the feast. On Monday, September 19, there's going to be a free cannoli giveaway. If you've never had cannolis made by Ferrara's, eating one of their cannolis is more like an experience than just eating a regular dessert.
There's more than 1 million people who attend the feast during the 11 days, which means you should go prepared to deal with a huge crowd. As someone who has attended the Feast of San Gennaro several times, there are tips to keep in mind before you arrive and while you're there to keep your (and everyone else's) experience more pleasant:
Wear comfortable shoes – Skip the sandals because your feet will get stepped on.
Don't text while you're walking – There are thousands of people there and some move at a snail's pace. When you're walking and texting, you're probably slowing down the people behind you without even realizing it.
Try to make reservations at a restaurant – Get there early anyway even if you have a reservation. There are going to be a slew of people who are ready and willing to take your spot if you're late.
Take a small bag – One of the worst things is when you realize someone is carrying a bag that's taking up the room in which another person could have fit. Carry as small a bag as possible
Don't leave your bag open – As with any packed event, keep your bag close to you at all times and make sure it's closed so no one can reach in without you knowing and grab your money and other possessions.
Walk only two across – When you walk through the feast, it's better if you walk next to one other person rather than three or more. There are so many people in attendance that the less "traffic jams" there are, the better it is for everyone. If people walking behind you are trying to get past, there's nowhere to go but to either shove right past you or walk right behind you.
Above all, enjoy yourself at the San Gennaro Feast – eat plenty of food, make new friends and appreciate the Italian history.
For more information on the San Gennaro Feast, check out their website.