St. John’s own San Gennaro Feast delights students


Contributing Photographer: Elizabeth Adam

Students enjoy a wide variety of Italian foods at St. John’s own San Gennaro Festival, pictured above.

The San Gennaro Feast proved successful for yet another year as St. John’s students celebrated Italian Heritage.

On Monday, Oct. 6,  the front of the D’Angelo Center was completely packed as vendors from all around New York City hauled in Italian food for St. John’s reproduction of the San Gennaro festival. The delectable scents of pizza, garlic knots, pasta and meatballs, sweet corn, and zeppoles drew in a crowd of over a thousand excited students.

“I go every year…it’s one of the best events on campus!” raved senior Tami Terzian. Similar positive comments could be heard bouncing from person to person by simply walking through the crowd.

A definite highlight of the event was the amazing Italian food. When asked how the food was, freshman Darby Winson replied, “It’s really good!” with wide, excited eyes as she ate her piña colada flavored Italian Ice.

The crowd seemed to agree with Winson’s opinion. Lengthy lines for the food formed within minutes of the opening of the feast at 1 pm, and continued until every single vendor ran out of their food.

Alberto Marin of Sweet Treats Pastry Shoppe, which provided the pastries for the event, was enthusiastic about the Saint John’s San Gennaro Feast as well. “We’ve been working with St. John’s for many years…I love it. It’s always very nice,” Marin said.

The San Gennaro Feast, held for the past 6 years on the St. John’s University campus, is based off of the one in Little Italy. This San Gennaro Festival is held every year on September 19th (usually over a course of 11 days).

Italian immigrants created the celebration of the patron saint of Naples in 1926. The event is now run by Figli di San Gennaro, Inc (the Children of San Gennaro), and is still held in Little Italy, where the statue of San Gennaro is located.

In 2008, the Italian Heritage Month Committee at SJU decided to have their own version of the San Gennaro Feast on campus as a way to “bring a piece of Little Italy to Saint John’s,” said associate director of LEAD and event planner Natalie Maio. October is Italian Heritage Month, so it seemed like the apt time to hold this event.

Various organizations teamed up to hold the feast this year, including the Division of Student Affairs, Circolo Italiano, LEAD, WSJU radio, Global Studies, and Gamma Kappa Alpha (the Italian Honor Society). “We serve, we spread, and we celebrate Italian culture,” said the Circolo Italiano president Nick Gilmore.

The St. John’s San Gennaro Feast continues to be a student-favorite, with its fantastic food and pure celebration of Italian Heritage.