The sounds of Sinatra filled the streets. Red, white and green flags were everywhere. And yes, there was food. Lots of it. The four food groups in fact (cheese, salami, roast pork and other cheese), piled high on folding tables and carts, begging to be tasted. But even for me, a proud Italophile with an appetite, this feast of the senses was not the most interesting part of Philadelphia’s Italian Market Festival.
Coinciding with the festival, in which signs like “Leave the Gun. Take the Cannoli” or “Keep Calm and Eat Macaroni” tend to garner the most attention, the Procession of Saints, a Roman Catholic tradition, features local parishioners carrying nearly 20 statues from Washington Avenue to St. Paul Parish on Christian Street via the market. The event brings to mind the scene from The Godfather: Part II (of course it does) when a young Vito Corleone (DeNiro) is on his way to pay Don Fenucci a visit. Sinatra was momentarily drowned out by traditional Italian songs courtesy of the Verdi Band of Norristown, which has been performing in the area since 1920. And people tucked small donations in the sashes of the saints as they passed through the crowded street. I left the gun and the cannoli behind to get a few shots of the procession.
There was even a visit from a few blessed mothers before the culmination of the procession at St. Paul Parish on Christian Street.
And for those not into the procession there was of course another way to enjoy the day…
For more information on the Italian Market Festival, visit: