The San Gennaro Feast
Las Vegas, NV
San Gennaro Feast a success behind strong support from Southern Nevada community
Local entertainers pack San Gennaro stage, Lt. Governor 'simply amazing' with America the Beautiful Grand Lady Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt proclaims the feast officially open.
San Gennaro Feast recieves Congressional Certificate of Recognition LAS VEGAS - It was a week most would like to forget. But it's impossible.
Yet despite terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, not to mention the emotional impact throughout the country, Southern Nevadans temporarily overlooked tragedy to enjoy the 21st San Gennaro Feast, which ran from Sept. 12-16.
Royal Festivals Inc. President Anthony Palmisano called the event his "biggest ever," and was proud of not only his Italian community, but also Southern Nevada as a whole.
"With everything that took place the day before we were scheduled to open, it was a tough decision to make," Palmisano said about whether or not to open the gates for the annual tradition. "But we realized that out of 1.7 million people, there had to be a temporary relief for those inundated by news reports and television. It gave people a chance to get everything off of their minds, at least for a little while.
"I thank Southern Nevada for keeping our tradition healthy and making this year's event the biggest Royal Festivals has ever seen."
More than 55,000 Southern Nevadans visited this year's event, which featured more than 120 vendors lacing Las Vegas' Little Italy streets and local entertainers who packed the house nightly.
Emcee Tony Sacca kept visitors entertained with a stellar lineup that included: The Scintas, legendary lounge performers Denise Clemente and Sandy Hackett, the Flamingo Hilton's Bill Acosta, classic blues band John Earl and the Boogieman Band a tribute to Sinatra and Co. with The Rat Pack is Back, Tami Pryce and Lonnie Usherson, Michael Conti and Victoria Adams as Elvis and Reba, DJ R.O.B., Lawrence T., The Honkytonk Angels, and international recording artist Marianna G.
Saturday's festivities included the honoring of Grand Marshal Judge Joseph Bonaventure and Grand Lady Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt, who absolutely brought the house down when she returned to her singing days with a rendition of America the Beautiful.
"It was amazing," Palmisano said. "All week we kept saying that we were going sing the National Anthem and either Proud to Be an American or God Bless America to recognize our country. But when our Lt. Governor stepped on stage and sang America the Beautiful, simply amazing."
On opening night, Father Dave Cassaleggio conducted a long-standing tradition of blessing the Feast, while Rt. Rev. Msgr. John J. Lambe and Rev. Theodore Van Skee assemblies of the Knights of Columbus provided a Color Corp Honor Guard and the Pilgrim Virgin Stacho of Our Lady of Fatima accompanied the procession with San Gennaro.
In memory of the victims from last week's attacks, Cassaleggio also offered special prayer in the presence of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius), the patron Saint of Naples, blood banks and volcanic eruptions.
The Feast of San Gennaro is one of the country's oldest festivals, making its first appearance in the immigrant-swollen Lower Manhattan. La Festa di San Gennaro celebrates the martyrdom of St. Januarius, a fourth century bishop from Naples, who was persecuted, arrested, and later decapitated because of his faith.
Las Vegas' version of San Gennaro originated in 1980, when Palmisano's uncle, Vincent, brought the event to Las Vegas Boulevard.
Butler Amusements Inc., which has served more fairs, celebrations, festivals and fundraising events than any other carnival in the West, also had a successful turnout with its State Fair-sized carnival that featured more than 40 spectacular rides and game-midway.