Photos: 18th Avenue Feast returns to Bensonhurst

The annual Feast of Santa Rosalia, aka the 18th Avenue Feast, returned to Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard with carnival rides, games and Italian street foods on Thursday, Aug. 19.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

The beloved 18th Avenue Feast returned Thursday night, Aug. 19, bringing 10 days of revelry to the streets of Bensonhurst.

The festival, also known as the Feast of Santa Rosalia, takes place on 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, co-named Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard, between 68th Street and Bay Ridge Parkway each year at the end of August.

From left: Fabio Grippi, Salvatore Inzerillo and Pasquale Parrelli dish out sausages during the Feast of Santa Rosalia on Thursday, Aug. 19.Photo by Paul Frangipane

Like many events it had to be canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decades-old festival — known as just “the Feast” to locals — celebrates Italian-American heritage, and in particular the patron saint of Palermo, Santa Rosalia. The festival features carnival rides, games, entertainment, and copious amounts of food.

Feast-goers from Brooklyn and beyond take over 18th Avenue on opening night.Photo by Paul Frangipane

Night one saw a performance from the band Cause & The Effects. Performances will go on each night, with the headliner Angelo Venuto performing on Aug. 28.

The feast saw good turnout for its first night back, according to Angelo Timoneri, the event’s treasurer.

“I think it went very well, there was a nice turnout, the weather was nice, it cooperated, and I saw a lot of people having a great time,” Timoneri said. “I was happy to see it back.”

A vendor prepares some street meat at the opening night of the Feast of Santa Rosalia.Photo by Paul Frangipane

Revelries will continue until Aug. 29, open from 6 to 11 pm on weekdays and from 2 to 11 on weekends. The organizers are encouraging diligent masking, and are spacing vendors further apart than they normally would, Timoneri says, though he concedes enforcement is difficult at a festival that’s free and open to the public.

The party is living on in Bensonhurst even as other major events are canceling their planned 2021 iteration, owing to rising COVID-19 case rates in the city. Just this week, organizers for two of Brooklyn’s most beloved parades, the West Indian Day Parade and the Mermaid Parade, announced that the planned events would be canceled this year.