One of Philly’s largest block parties/festivals is back this month. The Italian Market Festival returns for two days of music, fun, and of course food. This two day celebration will take place on Saturday May 20th and 21st from 11 am to 6 pm on 9th Street between Wharton and Fitzwater.
This family friendly event will feature plenty of long standing traditions including the 12th Annual John Marzano Halfball Tournament, a Cornhole tournament, the Procession of the Saints and of course the iconic Grease Pole contest. The festival will even feature a Cheesesteak of the Year competition where attendees can vote. Nominations are being accepted at ItalianMarketFestival.com.
On May 20th, the Italian Market Festival will host a special tribute to South Philly’s own “The Geator” Jerry Blavat featuring live music from acts such as Billy Carlucci -“Billy and the Essentials”, Chichi-“Memory Lane”, and a “Geator Gold” dance party with DJ Eric Bartello. Other acts schedule to perform include:
- Jukebox Dayz – May 21st at 4 pm
- The Company – May 21st at 12:30 pm
- The Juliano Brothers – May 21st – 3:30 m
- DJ Tim DeSimone May 20th & 21st -12- 6 pm
Keeping with tradition, the Italian Market Festival’s Procession of the Saints will take place on Sunday at 10 am at St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi Church. The church which is the first Italian national parish in the United States, was formed in 1852 by Bishop John Neumann to meet the spiritual needs of Philadelphia’s Italian immigrant community within the Irish-dominated archdiocese.
The Grease Pole, or Albero Della Cuccagna in Italian, is an old tradition in which teams compete in climbing to the top of a greased pole to reach prizes of meats, cheeses, gifts, and money. The pole is 30 feet high, greased with lard, and you will find it at the 9th & Montrose Piazza.
As for vendors, expect a wide variety of artisan vendors including:
- Wire People Here
- Jean Broden Art
- Patrick Michael Accessories
- Honorable Oak
- Hanson Handmade
- Sew Much Color
- Stacey Granger
- Al Moretti
- Susan Rifkin Jewelry
- Bee Hand Made Boutique
- Whisker Biscuits
- Paul Carpenter Art