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Don’t believe the blogs! The 18th Avenue festival is on! • Brooklyn Paper

Don’t believe the blogs! The 18th Avenue festival is on!

Business owners — including Joe Maffei, the owner of Gino’s Focacceria — were thrilled to hear that the beloved 18th Avenue Festival is still on.
Photo by Bess Adler

Bensonhurst’s beloved 18th Avenue Festival is on — and, yes, it will be 10 days long.

Silencing rumors that the Festa di Santa Rosalia, the decades-old festival in honor of the patron saint of Palermo, would be scaled back to one day or eliminated altogether, the city confirmed this week to BrooklynDaily.com that the traditional street fair will indeed begin on schedule and last its normal run.

“The city plans to issue a permit for the [festival] from Aug. 25 to Sept. 4,” said Evelyn Erskine, a spokeswoman for the mayor. She added that the festival’s organizers, the Society Santa Rosalia Club, were given the go-ahead weeks ago.

Eyebrows were raised this week after two area blogs posted that the music-and-fried-food–fueled festival would be slashed to one day to cut costs. The report cited a city website that posted a calendar listing showing the feast would start and end on Aug. 25, and the fact that festivals in other neighborhoods had been cut altogether.

Naturally, business owners on 18th Avenue rejoiced after hearing that the reports of the festival’s demise were untrue.

“It’s good for the neighborhood,” said Joe Maffei, the owner of Gino’s Focacceria, which sells pizza and fried dough at the festival. “It brings business to the area.”

And residents happy to hear it was still on said they love the festival because it brings people together year after year.

“It’s a tradition that I remember going to since I was a kid,” said longtime resident Gina Gallo.

Still, others said today’s street fair is a far cry from years past, when the festival served as a more low-key religious celebration for the neighborhood’s dwindling base of Italian-Americans.

“I really like it but there’s a lot of noise,” said Suzanne Colareta, who lives on 72nd Street, off of 18th Avenue, adding that the music from the fair can be heard all the way down her block.

“Maybe they should shorten it,” Colareta said.

Marnee Elias-Pavia, Community Board 11’s district manager, chalked the mix-up to an online typo.

She said the board approved the 10-day festival last December.

“We wouldn’t make any recommendations to shorten it,” Elias-Pavia said.

Festa di Santa Rosalia (18th Avenue between 67th and 75th streets in Bensonhurst), Aug. 25-Sept. 4. Starts at 5 pm (weekdays) and 11 am (weekends).

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