Feast of Santa Rosalia cancelled this year

August 25, 2011 Denise Romano
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There will be no zeppole, sausage and peppers or calzone.

The Feast of Santa Rosalia, also known as the 18th Avenue Feast,will not take place this summer for the first time in over 30years. The week-long festival, which runs from Bay Ridge Parkway to67th Street was supposed to kick off on August 25th, but follow-uppermit paperwork was not filed properly and there was simply notenough time to organize.

It’s unfortunate that it’s not happening this year, but therealization of the fact is that the problems with the organizationof the feast came so late that not much could get done this year,said Councilmember Vincent Gentile, adding that the event’s sponsor- the Santa Rosalia Society – was issued an initial permit inDecember, but failed to file additional paperwork.

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Gentile explained that there were conditional issues, such asinsurance, that weren’t dealt with in a timely manner because theorganizers weren’t a constituted committee.

There wasn’t anyone to take the responsibility to do this, hesaid. It came to light so late in the process that it wasimpossible to fix this year.

People who live and work along the avenue had mixed reactions tothe news.

I’m glad, but I’m not, said Giuseppe Maffei, Jr., whose fatherowns Gino’s Focacceria near 72nd Street. I am going to lose a lotof money, but it’s not fun to work 11 days straight from 10 a.m. to11 p.m. I’m disappointed because this would be our 14th year doingthe feast.

Angela Peralta, daughter of Villabate Alba Bakery’s owner, saidthat the feast not coming this year would not affect her business.It’s just that it’s kind of sad, she lamented.

Justine Brown, who works on the avenue, said she and herco-workers were concerned with garbage in the streets – since theSanitation Department removed trash cans on corners as part of apilot program. I guess it’s a good thing because the streets wouldbe filthy, she said. It will be weird – it’s a tradition, but thefeast has changed so much that it’s not a big loss.

Bensonhurst resident Gabriella Lauria was surprised to hear thenews. I like it, but my husband doesn’t because of the parking,she stated. They should have had it.

Melinda Cabrera agreed. I live in Sunset Park, but I work hereand come every year, she said. My son is just old enough to go onall the rides this year , she added, noting that he would bedisappointed.

But there is a bright side to the story.

The good news is that we have secured the permit so it will bein effect for next year, Gentile said. In the interim, we aregoing to put a committee back together and look forward to having anew and even better one next year.

Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager of Community Board 11,noted that organizing the feast is a big process. A lot goes intorunning that feast – it takes a lot of time, money and energy, shesaid. Hopefully with new people and new volunteers, they will beable to make it bigger and better than ever next year.


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