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Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

4 events you can't miss at the Feast of San Gennaro

By Rheanna O'Neil Bellomo
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Now in its 88th year, the Feast of San Gennaro—a celebration of the patron saint of Naples—will fill the streets of Little Italy with carnival games, a cannoli-eating contest and marching-band parades tomorrow through Sunday, Sept. 21. Mulberry Street eateries like Balaboosta will serve street snacks like tomato-basil falafel and roasted cauliflower with tahini from booths outside their front doors, while the Parm team will unleash brand-new bites from their forthcoming bagel shop. Here are the four events you can't miss this year: 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Feast of San Gennaro

Drool over the World’s Largest Cannoli
We’ve all had one—that classic Sicilian pastry oozing with sweet cream and chocolate chips, surrounded by a crisp, light shell. At this year’s festival, Ferrara Bakery and Café  will debut what they hope to be the world’s largest cannoli. Weighing in at 350 pounds, the 12-foot titan of a dessert will be unveiled in front of the bakery on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 3pm as onlookers munch on 2-inch mini cannoli. After fried in the bakery's New Jersey factory, the larger-than-life pastry shell will be delivered to Little Italy via truck and then filled with massive amounts of ricotta. The current record-holding cannoli from the Cake Bin Bakery in Newburgh, New York weighed in at 123 pounds and took a slot in the Guinness World Records in 2010. The folks at Ferrara are more than doubling the dessert and this is your chance to see what they're, er, it's really made of. 195 Grand St between Mott and Mulberry Sts

Get an exclusive first taste of Sadelle's bagels
The much-loved Torrisi team will unveil their latest project at their stand outside of Parm. The name of the game is bagels—courtesy of expert baker Melissa Weller (Per Se, Roberta’s)—and they'll be a taste of the Italian toques' forthcoming appetizing shop, Sadelle's. The doughy New York staple is set to rival festival funnel cakes and sausage subs, but you'll have to be the judge: Head to Torrisi territory between 11am and 5pm on the weekends (Sept. 12–14 and Sept. 19–21) to sample Weller’s house-cured salmon between two hefty schmears of cultured chive cream cheese. 248 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts

Spot Mayor de Blasio in the Grand Procession
Watch Bill de Blasio lead the way north on Mulberry Street as Grand Marshall for the Grand Procession on Saturday, Sept. 13. This kickoff event will feature four floats, each with its own tribute to San Gennaro. Tuned to three marching bands from Cathedral High, Xavier High and Elizabeth New Jersey High schools, the parade will also feature a gondola on wheels to give the nabe a little Venetian flare. Head to the intersection of Canal and Mulberry at 2pm to watch the parade start its path and keep an eye out for the Red Mike Festival Band playing on their own float—they’ve been playing this gig since 1927. 

Cheer on contestants in the Cannoli-Eating Contest
Don’t miss the 13th-annual cannoli-eating competition on Friday, Sept. 12 from 2-3pm. Watch as ten competitors take the stage to see who can scarf down the most pastries in six minutes. The first-place winner will be recognized as The World’s Champion Cannoli Eater and trophies will be awarded to the first and second runners-up. The only question is: Who will out-cannoli last year’s victor Yasim Salem, who ate 31 cannoli in 6 minutes? Fiat Performance Stage, Northwest corner of Grand and Mott Sts

Written by Ashley Cox

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