Saint Anthony’s Feast president Paul D’Amore (left) and chairman Joe DiGirolamo introduce visitors to the wonders of the North End’s famed, 100-year-old Italian festival
North End natives Paul D’Amore and Joe DiGirolamo both have a long history with the now century-old Saint Anthony’s Feast, one of the most famous of the Italian neighborhood’s many religious festivals that take place on its streets throughout the summer. DiGirolamo has been the celebration’s chairman for 18 years, while Feast president D’Amore’s involvement goes back 44 years to when he had his first stand “selling lemonade, watermelon, cannoli and corn on the cob.”
Since 2019 marks the grand event’s 100th year, there are many special features planned, including bigger parades, expanded entertainment and a new culinary demonstration stage. At its heart, though, Saint Anthony’s Feast remains a religious festival, so this year’s most important addition is perhaps a visitation by the Relics of Saint Anthony, which, as DiGirolamo points out, “are being brought from the Saint’s Basilica in Padua, Italy and will be placed on display and venerated at the Feast.”
For many visitors, however, coming to the North End is about one thing: Delicious Italian food. While DiGirolamo has a hard time picking his favorite treat at the feast—touting its more than 100 vendors offering everything from pasta and meatballs to calamari and zeppoli, not to mention “an incredible raw bar”—D’Amore cites “pizza, arancini and tripe” as recommended delicacies.
The centerpiece of this whirlwind of activity is the 10-hour grand procession of the statue of Saint Anthony through the North End streets “accompanied by marching bands and confetti cascading from the rooftop,” says DiGirolamo, a sight which he declares “spectacular” and “a true celebration of our faith and culture.” Whether you’re there for food or faith, though, Saint Anthony’s Feast is a fun, free way to experience Boston’s own “Little Italy” for both newcomers and annual participants alike. As DiGirolamo promises, “You will become part of the Feast experience and it will be a memory you will always cherish!”