If you're looking for a weekend filled with classic Italian food with a side of culture, look no further than the Festa Italiana at the Mount, a Columbus weekend celebration in Pleasant Plains. NY1's Lindsay Tuchman brings us there.
The sounds and the flavors of Italy fill Mount Loretto this weekend.
It’s all for the "Festa Italiana at the Mount," a festival celebrating Columbus Day and Staten Island's Italian-American heritage.
"It's a great festival, it used to be run through Richmond Town and they decided to make it bigger so that's why we're here at Mt. Loretto,” said Connie DeFrancesco, the president of Italian-American Women of Staten Island. “Come out for the fun!"
Organized by the Borough President's office and Catholic Charities of Staten Island, the groups are calling the festival the biggest Columbus Day celebration in Staten Island's history.
Columbus himself, who does make an appearance, was born in Italy.
"What we're trying to do is draw attention to the contributions Italian Americans have given to this city, the island and the country in a great way,” said Vincent Ignizio, the CEO of Catholic Charities of Staten Island. “Bring your family out and enjoy it as well.”
The "festa" features rides, live music by popular Italian performers, and, of course, food.
Anthony Napoletano enjoyed sausage, broccoli rabe, and hot peppers.
“Been eating it since I was a kid, my grandmother always made brocolli rabe,” he said. “No one makes it quite like her, but this looks pretty good!"
Even the younger Staten Islanders get in on the fun and learning, like Jillian Englehart.
"I guess you get to learn a little bit more about the Italian culture,” she said. “And I guess see how good the food here is, have a good time."
Tickets for that good time are a $5 donation, with proceeds benefitting the programs at Mount Loretto.
The celebrations end Sunday at 9 p.m.