Festival Italiano!

Little Italy's Annual August Festival

Annual August Festival

 

Ciao my friends! Il mio nome è Fin! Today I’m taking you through a little place we call Little Italia or Little Italy. What’s great about this place is you don’t have to take a plane to fly across the world for some real delicious Italian food, you can just swim on over…or rather…walk over from the Pier 5 Hotel and you’re there!
Little Italy has always been here! Like my grandparents and parents when they were swimming to the states, many Italians have traveled for a better life. Since the 20th century, many Italians have called Baltimore’s Little Italy a home and a haven for generations of immigrants.


St. Leo’s Church is in the heart of Little Italy. The neighborhood is a place where lifelong friendships are forged and nicknames are serious business! The Italian Festivals, Feast of St. Anthony’s and St. Gabriele were to help the parish raise money. Believe it or not, in 1904, back in my parents’ time, they told me of a great fire that occurred in Baltimore that really impacted Little Italy. Due to a promise, they hold the festivals every year!


On August 15 & 16, I got a chance to go with my friends to the festival! The moment you walked in, you’ll notice the Italian colors hanging from roof to roof and the smells of traditional Italian food! From pizza, to fried dough, they had it all. My friends, the birds, in the sky told me if I EVER went to the festival to try the fried dough, and so I did! With some granulated sugar, it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. There were other options as well; there was cinnamon sugar, and powdered sugar! The stout older man recommended the granulated, and boy was he right! That’s how it’s traditionally eaten. Now I know why the birds are always swarming around here! I was anxious to see what else the festival had in store for me.


As a shark, you would think people would stare at me funny, being on land and all, but everyone was happy and enjoying the beautiful day! That’s good for me, I can move around easily. There were so many colors everywhere; I was so in shock that I accidentally bumped into my friend Barnacle the bulldog from the Admiral Fell Inn! Unfortunately, he was color blind so I had to describe some of the things I saw…but that did not stop him from having fun! We stopped by a pottery stand as a woman was telling us the history of the patterns on the dishes. Originally, the designs originated from Italy, but later Polish, Germans, and other European designers were mimicking the design so the Italians tried to patent the design, unfortunately they weren’t able to...Barnacle, being the history buff that he is, wanted to stay and listen some more, but I saw people crowding over a particular area. And when people gather, I know that’s a good sign!


I pulled Barnacle away from the pottery, to see people throwing these balls on either side of the field. I asked Barnacle what it was and he said it was a game that many Europeans play call Bocce. It originated into its present form from Italy! It was intense; I’ve never seen humans focus so intently on something before. I decided it was best to leave…Barnacle was so focused on the balls his head moved left and right as it went!

There were tons of things to do here! Face painting, which I couldn’t do because I don’t really have the normal face…for a shark..there was live music, Barnacle denies it, but I swear I saw his tag wagging back and forth as we went. There were tons of kids games, the most popular being bingo! People were so determined with a focused look on the face that would intimidate even my dad! And he’s not one to be taken lightly! There’s also food contests! There was the Cannoli Filling contest and the Sausage Eating Contest. I won that pretty easily, and it was just because I’m a shark and I love to eat meat, but because I was just really hungry!


Barnacle did the Cannoli Filling contest, but rather then filling them…he ate them….all…So at that point, we walked away quickly before the people chase us out of here.
We decided to digest the food before leaving, so we walked around and noticed there were a lot of vendors selling everything from clothes to bags.

Unfortunately, I don’t need any of that stuff, but there were great deals on Baltimore’s Orioles and Ravens gear! I got Barnacle some stuff so he can share with his family and friends. But for me, the experience is all that counts! I got a chance to experience authentic Italian cultures and traditions right here in Little Italy with my best friend, Barnacle the Bulldog from Admiral Fell Inn. Who could ask for more?


SO, if you’re ever in town in the middle of August, I HIGHLY recommend coming down to Little Italy and experiencing it yourself!
That’s it for me, I think it’s time I swim back to the Pier 5 Hotel...Catch up with me next week to see what I’ve been up to! If you haven’t already don’t forget to like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter & Instagram on Pier 5 Hotel’s page!