San Gennaro serves Italian

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1906

By Rosa Cesareo

On the hunt for delicious desserts, locals stop at an inviting booth to purchase gelato and cannolis. Photo courtesy of Tracy Douglas
On the hunt for delicious desserts, locals stop at an inviting booth to purchase gelato and cannolis. Photo courtesy of Tracy Douglas

Fresh out of the pizza oven, San Gennaro Feast brought Italian culture to North Las Vegas with delicious food, alluring booths, and exhilarating rides. Honoring Saint Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, Italy, the fair occurs biannually and is well-worth the $10 general admission ticket.

Immediately after entering the designated location at Craig Ranch Park, hundreds of vendor stands greeted the local fair-goers. The stands featured food from all different types of cuisine: stereotypical Italian dishes including sugary cannolis, creamy gelato, slightly-too-greasy pizza, and pasta with all kinds of sauces were served hand-in-hand with American favorites such as fried funnel cakes and footlong hot dogs. By far, the best meal served was the Matriciano pasta, featuring a tomato sauce with bacon. In contrast, frankfurters were overwhelmed with onion toppings, which complemented neither the wiener nor people’s breath.

The DolceVita Gelato stand served gourmet pastas with lamb and quail as well as superb frozen coffee and artisan gelato. Across the path, it competed with barbecued corn and cheesecake kabobs (an ENTIRE cheesecake artistically impaled on a stick) which were questionable in appearance yet scrumptious to the last bite. Chocolate-covered strawberries and heavy sub-sandwiches gradually lost their appeal after hours spent sweating along the poorly-shaded inferno of a dusty sand trail, yet determination to maximize the Neapolitan experience meant swallowing down discomfort along with just… one… more… bite…

Which, naturally, brings up the unfortunate topic of restroom necessities. Perhaps the only actual downside of San Gennaro was the numerous port-a-potties clustered in a single clearing that served as the Messiah for customers affected by the massive amounts of food they consumed during the day. This was not the most enjoyable thrill at the park; however, it was definitely the most daring. Enough said.

After surviving the toilet trap, people could visit the colorful booths decorating the sidewalks, which sold unique jewelry, clothing, facepaint, and various personal items as well as the opportunity to pet a live goat, highlighting the true definition of Italian culture. Suddenly, $20 for a plain t-shirt didn’t seem overpriced and left patrons questioning to where exactly all the money had disappeared. Centered in the middle of all chaos was a stage where live bands performed from morning to night; the first being the worst, second the best, and third consisting of four Italian men with hairy chests.

The fair featured typical amusement rides such as a ferris wheel and roller coasters that, although sketchy in appearance, were ferociously fun. Carnival games offered the opportunity to win massive stuffed animals for a small participation cost. On the final night, fireworks lit up the sky in a blast of color to conclude the celebration with a bang.

The dates of the next San Gennaro Feast in May 2017 have yet to be announced; however, as each festival expects to out-do the previous, it will definitely be a splendid event.