IASA's Blog - All Years

At the Feast of Three Saints, Lawrence, MA

OSIA's 2012 Guide to 370 Italian Festivals in the U.S.

(Mar 29, 2012)

This year's Order Sons of Italy directory lists 370 Italian festivals held in 39 states and the District of Columbia,  Searchable by month or state, the directory supplies each festival's name, month, city, state and contact information, including email addresses and websites. The oldest festival in the U.S. is believed to be the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Hammonton, NJ, which this year celebrates its 137th anniversary in July. The biggest festival is the Feast of San Gennaro held every September in New York City, which attracts about one million people. Large festivals can also be found in West Virginia (Wheeling's Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival in July and Clarksburg's Italian Heritage Festival in September) and in Wisconsin (Milwaukee's Festa Italiana in July), among others.
      According to Sons of Italy research, the five states with the most festivals are: New York (64); New Jersey (57); California (41); Pennsylvania (37); and Illinois (27). Other states with significant numbers of festivals include Massachusetts (22), Ohio (20), Connecticut (16) and Florida (16). Italian festivals are held coast to coast. Some festivals include such traditional events as the flight of the angels (the Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca in Boston in August); the greased pole contest (the Feast of St. Peter in Gloucester, MA in June);and the Dance of the Lily (Festa del Giglio), in which about 100 men carry a five-ton platform through the streets for hours (in Brooklyn, East Harlem and Massapequa in June and July).