The 18th Avenue Feast, which was unceremoniously cancelled last year after three decades of capping off Bensonhurst’s summer season, will return next month in all its glory, organizers say.
“It’s happening,” said Carcione Damiano, President of the Santa Rosalia Society, the Italian-American club that organizes the feast that’s also known as the Festa di Santa Rosalia. “It’s done already. All the paperwork with the city is approved.”
Damiano said they city approved the permits for the feast, which will run along 18th Avenue between 67th to 75th streets from Aug. 24 to Sept. 3, on Wednesday. His group has just begun contacting merchants and vendors who participated in previous years.
“Everybody that used to be in it is going to get on board,” the Sicilian-born Bensonhurst resident said.
Organizers pulled the plug on the Feast last year, claiming that the city dragged its feet in issuing permits for the event — leaving them very little time to set everything up for its scheduled Aug. 25 kickoff. The city refuted those claims, however, claiming that organizers had temporary permits that allowed them to begin work.
Damiano said his organization wanted to bring the festival back because it was important for people living along the thoroughfare as well as the larger Italian-American population in the neighborhood.
“The whole population from 18th Avenue, and the people from Italy, we asked if they wanted it and they said ‘yes,’” Damiano said.
Festival decorations will begin going up next week, said Damiano, who promised that the Santa Rosalia Society will ensure that the Feast will continue for years to come.
“It’s going to go for another 70 years!” Damiano boasted.