Autumn in the eastern part of the United States is dedicated to outside festivals and I will be attending one of my favorite hometown festival some time today and look forward to drinking a homemade glass of red wine and eating delicious food from local restaurants and deli shops, not to mention, dancing, singing and encountering old friends with a cheek to cheek kiss (the greeting South Philadelphians welcome each other) whether it’s been many years or just days, we are quite a gregarious and affectionate bunch!
It is an annual affair to attend the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Italian Festival, (http://www.stnicksitalianfestival.com) held in a still very much traditional and old fashioned parish and neighborhood of South Philadelphia, where I was born and raised.
I attended this tiny, mostly blue-collar, Italian-Catholic elementary school (where the festival is held) from kindergarten to eighth grade and feel blessed to be able to return to my childhood every so often. What sweet memories of both my classmates and teachers I have collected over the years that helped to mold the person I am today.
I make the hour trip back “home” faithfully to join good friends from the neighborhood along with our children, whom have become an important element of this joyous event! It is a surreal experience to watch them enjoying the same activities and traditions handed down to us by our parents and neighbors.
Today, although the some of the traditions of the festival have remained intact, it has flourished into a diverse melting pot of nationalities and newer faces that make it all much more exciting to see it grow and continue to give pleasure for years to come!
And so we mark the date on our calendar, rain or shine and drag our daughters down with us and although they are not old enough to drive or party into the night, they may wander the few, short city block radius of my hometown with our blessing, as we enjoy some much needed quality time with a few hundred of our closest friends!
Saluti, everyone and Buona Domenica!