When one thinks of a San Gennaro Feast, the massive gathering in Manhattan’s Little Italy may be the first to come to mind. And that makes perfect sense—it’s been going on for 88 years. But here on the East End, as it enters its fourth year, San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons has already established itself as one of October’s must-attend events.
“The Feast has grown quite a bit since we first started doing it a few years ago,” says Dominick Spoto, last year’s Grand Marshall of the San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons, which will once more fill Hampton Bays with food, festivities and more food on October 4 and 5. “We’ve grown not only in terms of attendance, but also in terms of vendors. We’ve expanded from around 50 or so to around 100. This includes nonprofits like the Kiwanis Club and others,” and proceeds from the Feast will go to support multiple local charities, including Maureen’s Haven, the Hampton Bays High School Scholarship Fund and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Southampton Hospital.
In addition to the abbondanza of Italian food and flowing beverages, the weekend features a wealth of entertainment. Musical acts include Franco Corso, Johnny Avino, Carmelo Raccuglia (aka The Singing Pizza Man), American Idol singer Big Mike, the Bruce Springsteen tribute band Badlands and others. For sports fans who remember the glory days of New York basketball, there’s a guest appearance and autograph signing with New York Knicks legend John Starks, while Sopranos aficionados can look forward to meeting actor Joseph Gannascoli.
Attendees of the feast will also find local artisans selling their wares, roaming minstrels, eating competitions for various age groups, a carnival with rides and midway games and raffles to win a Fiat or a Vespa. It all kicks of with a parade on Saturday morning, filled with marchers and musicians and floats heading down Main Street, led by 2014 Grand Marshal Eugene Francolini. Later, on Saturday night, the sky will light up with a Grucci Fireworks Extravaganza starting at around 8:30 p.m.
Although there is a definite local flavor to the event, “People come from all over, not just the Hamptons,” Spoto says, acknowledging the tens of thousands of people who’ve come to enjoy the festivities since its inception. “We see our purpose as to bring people out to the Hamptons in the beginning of fall to stimulate local businesses, but also inform about what the Hamptons has to offer during the fall as well as the rest of the year.”
The 4th Annual San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons is Saturday and Sunday, October 4 and 5, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. at Good Ground Road (Long Island Rail Road Station) in Hampton Bays. For more information, visit sangennarofeastofthehamptons.com.