BELMAR NJ — A three-block area of Belmar’s downtown district will be transformed into a pint-size “Little Italy” for the annual Feast of San Gennaro on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16.

But it certainly will be larger than life on Italian flavor, flair and festivities, as Belmar salutes Italian heritage during this annual celebration.

Stretching along Main Street from 10th to 13th Avenues, the event will feature authentic Italian food, a beer and wine garden, contests and games, children’s activities, live entertainment and dance performances. In addition to vendors lining the street, businesses in the festival area will be in the spotlight, including Serenity by the Sea Too, which will be “popping” with its Artisan Marketplace.

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And many Main Street businesses that are not in the three-block area will be setting up displays with their offerings in the middle of the fun. One of them will be Main Street Donuts, most recently chosen as the best doughnut shop in the 2018 Best of Monmouth Readers’ Choice Awards by Monmouth Health & Life magazine.  It will serve up its Italian-inspired handcrafted doughnuts, including the Limoncello, Cannoli Cream and Tiramisu.

Need a custom-designed T-shirt for the festival or to take home as a souvenir? Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More will be providing on-site printing services at its store in Belmar Plaza, just around the corner of Main Street and Eighth Avenue.

The celebration will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday with a Mass celebrated in Italian at St Rose Church, followed by the traditional procession with the statue of San Gennaro being brought along Main Street to the festival.

A Cannoli Eating Contest will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday for adults and children. Sponsored by Sweet! of Belmar, registration will be held at its 702 10th Avenue location. There is a $10 entry fee to benefit the Mid-Atlantic Bulldog Rescue. Each winner will receive a $25 Sweet! gift certificate, trophy, and his or her name displayed on a plaque at Sweet!

Also to be honored will be four local residents of Italian descent for having “a positive impact on the quality of life in our area.” They recently were honored during a special reception at Taylor Pavilion. The award-winners are:

  • Rosemarie Papa, chairperson of the Belmar Woman’s Club education committee – Daughter of San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore award.
  • Gabe Viscardi, Knights of Columbus, Council 5611 – Son of San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore award.
  • Antoinette Raucci, owner of Antoinette Rose Bridal, Belmar and Brick – San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore Italian-American Businesswoman of the Year.
  • Joseph Vrola, owner of Vrola–Center of the Plate Specialists, South Amboy – San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore Italian-American Businessman of the Year.

For more information and updates on Belmar’s Feast of San Gennaro, visit its Facebook page by clicking here.

In photo above: San Gennaro honorees, starting fourth from left, Joseph Vrola, Rosemarie Papa and Antoinette Raucci, are pictured with Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern, Councilman Mark Levis, Councilman Thomas Brennan and Council President Jennifer Nicolay, and Monmouth Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone. Not pictured is honoree Gabe Viscardi.

All photos courtesy of Nancy Orlowski.

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