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It’s on! 18th Ave. fest to go off without a hitch

Brooklyn Daily

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 told us 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.

Festival organizers could not be reached for comment.

Eyebrows were raised this week after two blogs posted reports that the music and fried-food-fueled street 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.

So when business owners on 18th Avenue heard it wasn’t true, they rejoiced.

“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.

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Reader Feedback

NICKY from STATEN IS says:
good for the neighorhood or for his bussiness because there is no more businees on 18 th ave the filth people urinenating in the street and peoples driveways what feast its a circus not an iatlain feast no more it the 3rd china town
Aug. 17, 2011, 1:22 pm
frankie from bensonhurst says:
yes,the area changed w/decent people scanning from chinese,russian,polish a dash of other cultures...
TO make sure we dont lose it permanently,more cops should do that detail so the hood rats can be caged properly and normal family's can enjoy themselves..
Aug. 17, 2011, 1:32 pm
Shellie from Bensonhurst says:
Glad we pulled it together. I think all the cultures make this area rich and the melting pot we were meant to be.
Aug. 17, 2011, 1:58 pm
Wayne from Midwood says:
Ignorant, illiterate, dumbasses, like Nicky, can make this city better by hanging themselves.
Aug. 17, 2011, 3:23 pm
Mary from brooklyn says:
glad it was not cancelled, used to live on 74th and 20th but I still have BROOKLYN in my HEART!!! I hope to go.
Aug. 17, 2011, 4:20 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
1 @Wayne
Aug. 17, 2011, 7:43 pm
Jim from Bensonhurst says:
I hate it.

The visitors cause traffic headaches, park illegally in driveways and toss litter all over the place. The kids come down my block, late at night, causing a racous.

The feast itself is overcrowded and overpriced.
Aug. 17, 2011, 9:08 pm
Laura from Staten Island says:
It is not what it used to be, but I am glad the tradition will continue.
Aug. 17, 2011, 9:47 pm
CATHY from DKYER HEIGHTS says:
I think all the cultures make this area rich, AND THIS IS FOR NICKY WHERE DO YOU COME FROM BEFORE MOVING TO STATEN ITALY?
Aug. 17, 2011, 9:54 pm
Brandon from Bensonhurst says:
Im 15. Im able to enjoy the feast without causing a stur , and if old grumpy nieghborhood ——s dont like it, stay over a friends house, dont go. There are a fair share of idiots that go, but its tradition ..its brooklyn. Deal with it. And you shouldnt even be ALLOWED to comment on this if your from staten island the dump itself.
Aug. 17, 2011, 10:32 pm
IRA ROMANO from SHEEPSHEAD BAY says:
wow. im in shock. im glad its back. its an italian tradition. its in the famiy. is wcbs-fm joe causi gonna be there
Aug. 17, 2011, 11:11 pm
Lucille from 61st 20th Ave says:
Besides San Genaro, this IS what NYC feasts ARE!!! ALL ITALIAN AMERICANS even if you don't still live in the HOOD. Come and CELEBRATE you're heritage! SHOW ALL OF NY THAT WE ARE THE HEART THAT BEATS TRADITION! Cinedauno!!!
Aug. 18, 2011, 3:16 am
Lisa from Bensonhurst/staten island says:
It's great !! Glad my daughter can still enjoy the festivities and culture ! Even if you are from Yonkers or abudabi your are welcome to come and enjoy it . Who care what kind of people live there now !!! This is American !!
Aug. 18, 2011, 12:33 pm
Stuart from Bensonhurst says:
I am very happy that the St. Rosalia feast is returning. The feast has been an 18th Ave. tradition for many years and when some perennial summer events are being canceled (the N.Y. Philharmonic concert in Prospect Park), it is great to see that one is still continuing . I grew up in Bensonhurst and this is a significant part of summer.
Aug. 18, 2011, 4:43 pm
maria from staten island says:
so happy the feast will go on...its great to at least have one italian tradition left in bensonhurst
Aug. 18, 2011, 6:33 pm
Dan from Gerritsen Beach says:
How could the organizers not be reached? It took me 10 minutes?

I love that you were wrong.
Aug. 19, 2011, 12:38 pm
Perry from Bensonhurst says:
18th Avenue Festival - Festa di Santa Rosalia
CANCELLED
This is a Chinese, Russian and illegal alien neighborhood now. I'm Italian and I still live here. Italians have abandoned this neighborhood and now it's time to take the feast to Staten Island where it belongs. We don't need the congestion, the undesirables urinating on my property and the rats we get from the mess they leave behind.
Aug. 19, 2011, 3:28 pm
Geri from Bensonhurst says:
Yes the neighborhood is now diversified. But it has always been. Talk to your parents they will tell you. The feast has roots in this neighborhood and needs to go on. I feel that the "lost Brooklynites" that have migrated to other area's still tend to find there way here for bread and pastries at Villabate during holidays will do the same for the feast. When Italy won the World Cup in 2006 no one was celebrating in the streets of Hylan Blvd or Manalpan they went home to 18th Ave. That is Home to the Italian Americans and it will always be. Whoever the parties were who saved this tradition...tanti grazie!!
Aug. 19, 2011, 6:37 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
As far as the feast goes it's done, toast.
There is next to nothing left that's Italian on 18th ave. Each store that closes is replaced by a Chinese store, only a handful of Italian businesses remain along 18th ave. Traditions end and it's simply the evolution of time, to keep this one alive is very selfish of the people that left this neighborhood, bring it to your backyard.
A few Italians left because they didn't like the Chinese moving in, I know this because they told me, "I'm getting the hell out of here", and that's putting it nicely. For sale signs went up overnight, this change took less than 10 years. Now Italians are crying that the feast is gone. You sold your homes, sold your businesses, fled to Staten Island, shame on you! Please take your feast too.
Aug. 20, 2011, 6:40 am
Bill from Bensonhurst says:
The feast is tradition...and when tradition is lost, so goes the neighborhood...my only concern with the Asian influx of residents/businesses is that they don't frequent long established businesses, and "keep to themselves"...they have an attitude of low-balling merchants, and have arrogant, aloof attitudes....THAT will eventually kill the tradition and flavor of 18th Avernue...sorry Asians, but that's just the way it is...
Aug. 25, 2011, 4:55 pm
PG from Bensonhurst says:
I agree with Bill
Sept. 21, 2011, 6:30 am

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