The bright colors, the delicious food, the carnival games, the quick Italian shouted across the streets. These are just a few of the many reasons to go to a Italian Feast or Procession in Boston’s Italian North End. Really, anyone who cares for food at all would put the North End at the top of their list of places to visit. Combine that with the historic buildings, the feeling that you are in the midst of old Italy, throw in some Italian vendors and cannolis and you’ve got the Fisherman’s Feast.
I go to the Fisherman’s Feast nearly every year with my family. We walk down the narrow streets, play the carnival games, buy a canolli from “Cannoli Girl” (a very misleading nickname for a woman who’s likely been at the festival for forty years), pay our general Christian homage to the Catholic Madonna, and watch the procession of the statue.
We didn’t hang around this year for the procession, but it really is quite a site. Most of the festivals have one, but the procession of the Madonna is one of the most intense, with money coming down from the windows above, along with a 12 year old girl on a pulley. Yes, you read that right. They lower a 12 year old girl from a window or roof above and when she (cross your fingers) safely reaches the pavement, she presents the Madonna with a bouquet of flowers.
If you’re in Boston for the summer you’ve got to see one of these festivals. Snag some pizzellis and suddenly you’re on a quaint side street in Italy.
- Look for the original “Cannoli Girl” to buy your cannoli from…it’s more authentic that way. She’ll have a sign on your booth, you can’t miss her.
Where: Boston’s Historic North End, MA
Cost: Depends on how many biscottis you buy…
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen at a festival?