Toccolana Club to host Feast of San Gennaro

Food, bocce, fireworks and contests among activities

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The Toccolana Club, 1412 E. Dominick St., will host the inaugural Feast of San Gennaro on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17-18.

The two-day Italian-American festival will begin Friday at 4 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m. It will resume the following day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The family-friendly festival is free.  

There will be a bocce tournament in correlation with the feast, event organizers said.

There will also be Italian food such as meatballs, pizza fritte, homemade sauces, cannolis and more. A variety of food trucks, live entertainment, and food contests, such as Best Meatball and Best Tomato Pie will also be presented, Toccolana Club officials said, adding that a firework display will conclude the festival on Saturday night. 

The Feast of San Gennaro celebrates the life of San Gennaro of Naples, who was Bishop of Benevento, Italy and was martyred in 305 AD during a persecution of church officials by the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

According to church historians, San Gennaro knowingly made himself a target of the persecution by visiting the deacons, Sosso and Proculo, and the laymen, Eutichete and Acuzio, while they were in jail.

Historians add that upon his arrest, Gennaro was tortured yet did not waver in his faith. He was later thrown head-first into a furnace but was uninjured.

He was not as fortunate later when beheaded by Roman agents.

According to lore, his body and severed head still dripping blood were gathered up by an old man, who reverently wrapped them in cloth, and an old woman, who collected the blood in a vial.

San Gennaro’s body is preserved in Naples, where he is honored as the patron saint of the fabled “Citta del Sole” or “City of the sun.”

Neapolitans pray to San Gennaro for protection from fires, earthquakes, plagues, droughts and the eruption of the nearby Mount Vesuvius.

For more information about the upcoming Toccolana Club event, contact David Smith at 315-404-3747 or budmansmitty55@yahoo.com. 

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