18th Avenue Festival returns to Bensonhurst for 42nd year

Brooklyn Daily
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Photo gallery

The people’s queen: 19-year-old Rebecca Didonna was the regina, or queen, of the Santa Rosalia festival.
Music to the ears: Sal Mazzola and Mike Aoane of the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra entertain at the Santa Rosalia festival.
Sweet treat: Gino, Anthony, and Charlie enjoy free cannolis at the 18th Avenue Santa Rosalia festival.
Bright lights: The Santa Rosalia festival began with a flashy entrance at 18th Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway.
Standing tall: The statue of Santa Rosalia commands center stage at the 18th Avenue festival.

It was one long Sunday dinner!

The Festa di Santa Rosalia, or 18th Avenue Festival, returned to Bensonhurst this month for its 42nd year, ending the ten-day festival on Aug. 27 with a Sunday procession for Saint Rosalia, the patron saint of the southern Italian city of Palermo. The festival takes place on 18th Ave., between 68th Street and Bay Ridge Parkway, and was a particular success this year due to a high turnout, according to one longtime attendee.

“I think it was better this year, because there were more people,” said Giuseppe D’Amico, a Palermo native who has been coming to the event with his two brothers, Francesco and Marino, for the past 40 years.

He said the food — and particularly the sausage, peppers, and fish — have always been a highlight.

Besides eating and worshipping, revelers enjoyed playing games, shopping, and listening to music. The Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, an Italian festival band started by Michael Aromando in 2001, made a special appearance, with seven bandmates performing Italian tunes on brass and woodwind instruments.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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