The Italian Festival runs wraps up Sunday in what is the event's 50th year. (Photos courtesy of St. Anthony's Italian Festival's Facebook)

Italian Festival in Wilmington runs through Sunday

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Culture

The Italian Festival runs wraps up Sunday in what is the event's 50th year. (Photos courtesy of St. Anthony's Italian Festival's Facebook)

The Italian Festival runs wraps up Sunday in what is the event’s 50th year. (Photos courtesy of St. Anthony’s Italian Festival’s Facebook)

One of the largest Italian-American cultural events in the nation, with about 60,000 attendees, is back this week in Wilmington for a ceremonious 50th year. 

St. Anthony’s Italian Festival, sponsored by St. Anthony of Padua Parish, involves decadent Italian cuisine like pasta, pizza, cannolis and more.

“Thanks to all who come out to support our St. Anthony’s Italian Festival,” said Judy White, principal of St. Anthony of Padua Grade School. “Proceeds go to our church but get directed to our grade school.”

The event, particularly the bars and entrance gates are staffed solely by volunteers, White pointed out.

“Those volunteers are St. Anthony of Padua Grade School staff, families, and friends,” she said. “Come check out the great food and drinks. Walk the property and see our vendors. Rides, face painting, great food, drinks, food trucks and music are on every corner.”

She thanked the community for 50 years of support.

Food and activities

The outdoor eateries include Bella Cucina Foods, Cafe Riviera, La Pizzeria Metro, La Casa Pasta, Luigi and Giovanni’s, Trattoria di Napoli, Bernie’s Water Ice, Fusco’s Italian Water Ice, Olevano Olive Oil, Serpe’s Bakery, Donut NV Wilmington, Funella’s Funnel Cakes, Gotta Lotta Gelata, Lucky Shot Coffee Company and more. 

The exciting atmosphere is highlighted with live music, traditional dances and family-fun carnival games. 

Attendees can bring home a souvenir article of clothing made by Stitch In Time.

Filitalia, a Philadelphia nonprofit aiming to promote and preserve the Italian heritage, language and customs throughout the world, is making an appearance at the festival on Saturday.

On Sunday, the 2024 Home Winemakers Competition begins at 3 p.m.

The categories are white wine, red wine and cordials. Enter the competition by filling out an entry form here.

Also Sunday, The Mattinata Musicale radio programs and The Italian-American Herald will help educate patrons about the region’s Italian-American media outlets, dedicated to celebrating and informing the region of the richness of the culture in the Delaware Valley and beyond. 

Be sure to check out the Bellini Bar, 9th St. Cafe and The Antonian everyday for musical performances, featuring traditional and contemporary Italian tunes.

Here is the week’s schedule: 

  • Sunday, June 9 from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Monday to Friday, June 10 to June 14 from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 15 from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 16 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

What to know

There’s free secure parking at Salesianum School and a continuous shuttle to the festival grounds (10th and DuPont Street) from 30 mins before opening to 30 mins after closing. 

Park in the gravel lot across 18th Street from Salesianum, near the Little League field and Abessinio Stadium. 

Only service dogs are allowed on the festival grounds and dogs must be trained for specific tasks related to a disability. Emotional support animals are not permitted.

The festival has comprehensive security measures including a visible police presence, the services of an outside security company and the use of metal detectors at entry points.

​​No outside food or drink is allowed, except baby food/formula and one bottle of water, up to 20 ounces, per patron.

The event is almost exclusively cashless with no ATMs, so be sure to bring debit or credit cards.

For those without cards, there will be a booth on-site to purchase festival gift cards with cash in increments of $25 and $50.

Tickets are $20 each for the full week, or $7 for a day.

Children under 16 and seniors over 61 are admitted for free, and children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Buy 8-day and daily passes here.

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