St. Anthony's Festival

2016 St. Anthony’s Festival – A Doubly Special Occasion

Posted by  //  May 25, 2016  //  News  //  1 Comment

By Stephanie Passeri-Densmore

All of Central New York is familiar with the St. Anthony’s Festival, a weekend of faith and good times at St. Anthony of Padua Church at 50 Pomeroy Street in Cortland, New York.  Dating back to 1905, this traditional celebration commemorating St. Anthony, a favorite Italian saint, always offers a weekend of religious events, aspects of traditional Italian folk celebrations, delicious food, children’s games, shopping opportunities, and live music for all tastes.  However, this year’s festival, to be held on June 11th and 12th, has an even more special meaning.  It is part of the kick-off of the centennial celebration of St. Anthony of Padua Church, which was founded as a parish in 1917 by Italian immigrants.  The year of centennial celebration, like St. Anthony’s parish itself, will focus not only on commemorating its cherished past but also on engaging in many dynamic activities regarding parish and community life.  In fact, the theme of this year’s St. Anthony’s Day Procession on Sunday June 12th is “St. Anthony of Padua Church:  Cherishing the Past—Embracing the Future.”

St. Anthony’s Festival Weekend starts Saturday afternoon with a Spaghetti Supper in St. Anthony’s Church Hall from 4:00 to 7 PM, which will satisfy the heartiest appetites for Italian food.  At 5:30 PM, Mass will be said in Italian with authentic Italian hymns. English translation leaflets will be provided for St. Anthony’s many current parishioners who come from diverse backgrounds and members of the public who wish to attend.  At 6:30, the outdoor celebration begins on the festival grounds adjoining the church.  There, festival goers can savor St. Anthony’s renowned sausage and pepper sandwiches, pizza fritta (fried dough), and Italian sweet treats, including  pizzelle (Italian waffle cookies), cannoli (ricotta-filled crispy shells), and homemade Italian cookies, from the Dolci booth until 10 PM.  Italian-themed items, including T-shirts and caps, can be purchased at the Italian Novelties Booth.  Festival goers can also make Silent Auction bids on themed baskets and other lovely items.

Also on Saturday evening, Tribal Revival will provide great musical entertainment from 7 PM to 9:30 PM.  The evening ends with a thrilling fireworks display at 9:30 PM, generously sponsored by McNeil and Company Insurance and Risk Services.

Sunday events begin at 9:30 AM with a traditional Mass celebrating the feast day of St. Anthony.  As a tribute to this beloved saint, thirteen little boys dressed as St. Anthony and carrying his signature lilies will sing a moving hymn in Italian, which praises St. Anthony for spreading the Gospel and protecting those who are far from their homeland.  The boys have been trained by Vivian Colongeli and her daughter Pamela Knickerbocker, who have carried on the tradition begun by mother-in-law Maria Colongeli, Francesca Discenza, Doradea Cerio, and Giuseppina Cerio in the 1930’s.  Following benediction after Mass, the Old Timers Band will enter the church to play the favorite Italian march, “Caderna,” and lead the parishioners in the traditional procession throughout Cortland’s East Side.

This year’s procession theme highlights St. Anthony’s love of its faith and ethnic heritage combined with an energetic, inclusive present and vibrant future. Traditional elements include the ornate St. Anthony’s Banner from Italy, the statue of St. Anthony supported on the shoulders of four parishioners, the thirteen little monks, vivid Italian regional banners by the late Mario Venturini, parish organizations, accordion player Armando Natale, and religious floats. One of this year’s floats is a project of St. Anthony’s Confirmation Class.  Last year’s Confirmation Class, under the direction of parish artist Ellen Rahner, designed and painted a beautiful mural adorning the entire length of the church atrium.  This year’s students are building a float of the Creation, representing the Biblical account and symbolizing the creation of the St. Anthony’s Parish in 1917.  The procession route includes Elm, Hubbard, Central, Pomeroy, Port Watson, Bartlett, Commando, Hyatt and a return to the church.

Other Sunday festival activities get underway on the church grounds at 12:30 PM.  Families and friends can relax under the big tent to enjoy Italian specialty dishes from the ethnic foods booth or sausage and peppers sandwiches, pizza fritta, and other dolci.  Youngsters will love the kids’ food booth, fun kids’ games, and the Bounce House.  Parish caricature artist, Noel Passeri, will be on hand to draw likenesses of festival goers of all ages.  Adults can play the new cake wheel and bid on the Silent Auction, which includes themed baskets and many other items. Besides St. Anthony’s Italian Novelties booth, there will be a variety of creative shopping opportunities on Sunday, including a new booth called “Traditional Keepsakes,” which offers handmade crocheted, embroidered, sewn, and knitted items.  Local vendors’ wares include handmade jewelry by Sharon Torres, in addition to hand painted glassware, custom couture tutus, and handcrafted hair accessories by Cristina Bruno Dalola’s The Muse Creations/Royal Tutu Tea Parties.

Sunday’s live music entertainment features the Cortland High Jazz Band, the Cortland High Rock Band (a “School of Rock” style band), Steve Southworth and the Rockabilly Rays.  As always, the festival culminates with the ever popular Old Timers Band Concert.

Times of performances will be available at saintanthonysfestival.org, along with all festival information.  Make sure to attend this year’s very special St. Anthony’s Festival!

 

50 Pomeroy Street

Cortland, NY

 

Saturday, June 11th

Spaghetti Dinner   4 – 7 PM

Mass in Italian   5:30 PM

Tribal Revival Band    7 – 9:30 PM

Fireworks  9:30 PM (sponsored by McNeil and Company Insurance and RiskServices)

Festival  6:30 – 10 PM

Music, Italian Food & Fun

Sunday, June 12th

Traditional Mass & Benediction   9:30 AM

Followed by Procession featuring The Old Timer’s Band

Festival  12:30 – 8:30 PM

Musical Entertainment, Silent Auction, Themed Basket Raffle, Traditional Keepsakes, Italian Novelties For Sale, Cake Wheel Italian & Ethnic Foods, Dolci, Children’s Games & More

One Comment on "2016 St. Anthony’s Festival – A Doubly Special Occasion"

  1. Donald C. Colongeli, Jr. June 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm · Reply

    Having lived in Hilton Head Island, SC for the last 22 years, I still have find memories of practicing,and marching in the parade with some of my best friends, like John Daniels, Mark Francher…etc. It’s nice to know the tradition carried on with what I believe to be the same Monk suits my paternal grandmother, Maria Colongeli hand made and was the same unif+qqa1qaaqorm my brother and even Dad wore before me. Cheers and keep up the good work!

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