Feast of San Gennaro: Food, Community, Tradition - NBC Southern California

Feast of San Gennaro: Food, Community, Tradition

The Italian street festival brings the calzones, accordions, rides, and fun to Hollywood.



    Feast of San Gennaro: Food, Community, Tradition
    Kayte Deioma/Feast of San Gennaro
    The Galbani Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro brings music, bingo, bocce, and good eats galore to Hollywood from Sept. 25 through 27.

    It would be completely accurate to say that Southern California has polished and perfected the art of the street festival.

    What with our sunshine -- check -- and our ocean breezes -- check again -- and our love of hobnobbing and people-watching -- check and check -- we've kind of got the whole thing down pat in the close-off-the-avenue, cook-up-some-food-and-fun department.

    A few cities far to our north and east, though, got an earlier start on the traditional Italian street festival, the kind of beautiful bash that's scented by calzones and filled with the strains of accordions.

    Some might have doubted LA could have its own, since the festivals of the East Coast have taken decades to build, but the doubters are changed: The Galbani Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro has become a true classic of the form in its own right, with nothing but rightful pride on its side.

    It should feel chuffed: After nearly a decade-and-a-half and a location change, San Gennaro is much-attended, much-loved, and the ultimate place to score your early autumn cannoli. And play bingo and play bocce and ride a ride and watch chef demos and devour a scoop of gelato, as a dessert to your cannoli.

    Or is the cannoli actually a better follow-up to a gelato? The hard questions, what should be the dessert to your dessert.

    The 2015 dates are Friday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 27. You'll make for Hollywood and Highland, but go a block south, near Hollywood High School. Will you miss the red, green, and white banners and the twinkly lights and the crooners crooning ballads from the stage? 

    You will not. As is tradition, there is a bigness to the heart of San Gennaro, one that can draw revelers from a block away.

    And hewing to the spirit of this style of community-close festival, there shall be charity goodness to participate in, from a blood drive to a marrow match program to a tour that makes sure kids fighting cancer get to see some Major League Baseball games (fans of Jimmy Kimmel, who has long been a part of the festival, will recognize this as the organization "established in the honor" of Mr. Kimmel's beloved Uncle Frank).

    Of course, as with any boisterous, sights-aplenty street scene, it can be tempting to simply try pasta after pasta and call it a night. But paying it forward is also woven into what the Feast of San Gennaro is all about.

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