BELMAR NJ — Belmar will salute Italian culture and cuisine during its annual Feast of San Gennaro on Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days, a three-block area of Main Street from 10th to 12th Avenue will be closed to traffic and filled with vendors offering a wide selection of authentic Italian food choices and other specialties, a beer and wine garden, contests and games, children’s activities and live entertainment.

The celebration will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday with a Mass of San Gennaro at St Rose R.C. Church, followed by the traditional procession with the statue of San Gennaro being brought from the church on Seventh Avenue to the festival.

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The event also honors four local residents of Italian descent for having a positive impact on the community. This year’s recipients are:

-- Maria Florio of Belmar – Daughter of San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore award.

-- Ralph Marino of Belmar – Son of San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore award.

-- Rosalba Mistretta Morris – San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore Italian-American Businesswoman of the Year.

-- Anthony “Sonny” Nardone, owner of Go-Play Retro Arcade in Belmar – San Gennaro of the Jersey Shore Italian-American Businessman of the Year. He also serves on the Belmar Business Partnership Board of Trustees.

Sweet! of Belmar will hold its third annual Cannoli Eating Contest at 1 p.m. on Saturday for adults and children (age 12 and under). There is a $15 per-person nonrefundable entry fee. The deadline to register is Friday, September 13 at Sweet!, 702 10th Avenue. There will be no sign-ups accepted on the day of the contest.

All contestants will receive a commemorative T-shirt. Each winner will receive a trophy $25 engraved with his or her name and a $25 Sweet! gift certificate.

The event will benefit Circle of Friends- Helping Young Adults with Downs Syndrome, a Belmar-based nonprofit group that organizes activities for individuals with special needs.

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

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