June 20, 2012

St. Anthony’s Italian Festival concludes colossal week

Wilmington’s Favorite Festival Draws Huge Crowds.

Wilmington, DE – The St. Anthony’s Italian Festival concluded on Sunday. This year marked the 38th anniversary of the “modern” Italian festival and more than 88 years of a traditional summer celebration at the parish. Despite losing one night to inclement weather, the festival drew more than 73,000 attendees, matching its 2011 total.

“It’s amazing. A small parish celebration has grown into the region’s premier Italian-American cultural event,” says Anthony Albence, a member of the Festival’s Steering Committee. “Our partners, the Wilmington Police Department and our dedicated volunteers combined to make sure the event was safe, enjoyable and relevant for visitors of all ages.” More than 750 volunteers donated time during the eight-day event, which raises money for St. Anthony of Padua Grade School.

To highlight this year’s Sicilian-themed festival, St. Anthony’s mixed new attractions and events with old favorites. Some of these included a Sicilian garden display by DiSabatino Landscaping/Esposito Masonry, St. Anthony’s 5K Run, the 10th annual Gala Concert, the debut of Festival Quizzo, the inaugural International Beer Tasting and, of course, the traditional Festa Patronale.

The 5K run took 240 runners through Little Italy on the festival’s opening day. Winners were Matt Cutrona of Wilmington, DE, and Josephine Harrington of Washington, DC. The 10th annual Gala Concert, featuring St. Anthony’s new, custom-designed Peragallo organ, delighted festival-goers with a wide selection of celebrated artists, talented musicians and stirring works, including Vivaldi’s memorable “Vedrò Con Mio Diletto,” Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus” and “Libiamo,” and “Nella Fantasia” by Ennio Morricone.

Saint Anthony of Padua

Monday featured the festival’s inaugural International Beer Tasting, sponsored by Standard Distributing. The tasting satisfied 375 beer lovers with brews from five European countries. On the festival’s final day, Festa Patronale, a procession of saints through the streets of Little Italy, drew the faithful from several surrounding states.

Wilmington will again bring out its Italian flags from June 9 to 16, 2013, as St. Anthony’s Italian Festival returns for its 39th year. Check out St. Anthony’s website for festival details and volunteer opportunities.

School alumni and friends do not need to wait until next year’s Festival to come together for more fun. St. Anthony’s All Classes & Friends Reunion, which also benefits St. Anthony’s of Padua Grade School, is set for this fall. Alumni and friends are invited to St. Anthony’s on Saturday, November 17, from 6:30 to 11 PM. Tickets for ages 21 and older are $30; ages 20 and under may purchase tickets for $15. Ticket sales begin on September 10 through PayPal or St. Anthony’s Committee members. Alums can visit www.facebook.com/stanthonysreunion for event information.