Ferragosto festival in the Belmont area of the Bronx which is also known as Little Italy, is a fun filled cultural event for the entire family. This wasn’t your average Italian street fair this was something much more personal. The feast was a true display of Italian pride; and a true display of community and fellowship that you rarely see or feel at a street fair in a city of this size.
The majority of the street vendors at this event are actually neighborhood businesses. Restaurants had their tables outside allowing patrons to dine al fresco. Customers lined up twenty deep to buy fresh zeppole. Meanwhile, there was plenty of activity over at Cosenza’s Fish Market where patrons enjoyed raw seafood specialties; and the businesses from the Arthur Avenue Retail Market (Mike’s Deli) were out in full force too - selling fresh grilled sausage, pinwheels, and roast suckling pig, among a variety of the other Italian specialty food products.
People who were interested in snacking lightly had plenty of opportunity to enjoy the free samples being offered by a variety of businesses; Palombo’s had a 20-minute line filled with enthusiastic customers that gladly enjoyed a refreshing homemade Italian Ice; Cerini Coffee and Gifts who were also celebrating the grand opening of their new and beautiful store were handing out free espresso’s as they professionally demonstrated the illy X7 Espresso machine; and all day long - the staff at Teitel Brothers handed out samples of Parmiggiano-Reggiano, imported Italian olives, fresh mozzarella and more.
A huge feast was really at the hands of all who wanted to partake. On one end of the feast the pleasant staff at Ann & Tony’s was warmly welcoming diners indoors throughout the day. While on the other end of the festival, Rigoletto’s offered outdoor dining and music. And in between, was everyone from Artuso’s Pastry, Umberto’s, Gina’s, Enzo’s, Calandra, La Cantina, and many more.
Entertainment was available almost everywhere you turned with lively performances. Children of all ages were happy to discover free professional face painting by Larry. And it was certainly difficult to be at the festival without noticing the entertaining talents of the Commedia dell’arte Players, actors dressed in full costumes, portraying 16th century characters.
The businesses in this area are very proud of their heritage and the products and services that they offer. Ferragosto Visitors should be aware that the quality of food, and attention received from the vendors during this Ferragosto celebration is a small gesture compared to the way they welcome customers during a normal work day. Perhaps this is why visitors traveled from all over New York State, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to partake in the festivities.