YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Every year since 2015, a procession down Commerce Street has signaled the start of the Yorktown Feast of San Gennaro, a now five-day Italian heritage festival with food, carnival rides, live music and a festive atmosphere.
Hundreds participate in this yearly tradition, during which the statue of Saint Gennaro, on loan from New York City’s Most Precious Blood Church, is carried to Railroad Park, its home until the festival ends.
Among the sea of proud Italian descendants is Yorktown’s musically inclined town justice, Sal Lagonia.
This year, he can leave his trumpet at home.
Lagonia has been named grand marshal of this year’s Feast of San Gennaro, which will run from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15. Out of respect for the victims of 9/11, the procession will be held this year at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12.
Fittingly, Lagonia received his ceremonial sash on Sunday, Aug. 4, during the intermission of a concert at Jack DeVito Veterans Memorial Field. The band that night was Lights Out, a tribute band that plays songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, an Italian-American quartet.
“Every year, Sal is there for us, right out front playing the trumpet,” said Tom Pomposello, organizer of the Feast of San Gennaro. “No questions asked, Sal is always there for us.”
Pomposello kept the announcement under wraps until 7 p.m., surprising Lagonia before hundreds of concertgoers.
“I can’t thank you guys enough for honoring me. I’m very humbled by all of this,” Lagonia said. “I’m proud to be an Italian. Proud to be a member of Yorktown.”
Hours for this year’s festival are:
• Wednesday, 5-11 p.m.
• Thursday, 5-11 p.m.
• Friday, 5-11 p.m.
• Saturday, Noon-11 p.m.
• Wednesday, Noon-10 p.m.