Celebrating 100 at Wilmington’s Italian festival

 St. Anthony's Church is home for the weeklong Italian festival.  (John Mussoni/WHYY)

St. Anthony's Church is home for the weeklong Italian festival. (John Mussoni/WHYY)

The area between North Broom and North DuPont are the busiest neighborhoods in all of Wilmington for the first 2 weeks of every June.  You go to North Broom for the Greek festival during the first week.  You head up 3 blocks to St. Anthony’s Italian festival a week later.

The Wilmington Italian festival is wrapping up its 39th year this weekend.  This year’s celebration is a quiet acknowledgment of the man who first put this festival together when it debuted in its current form in 1974, Father Roberto Baducelli.

Father Roberto turns 100 in just over 6 weeks.  Festival goers came out Tuesday night to make up for the lost time missed by Monday’s heavy rain and wind storm.  There were little reminders of Father Roberto all around. The church hall that is named for him.  The photo montage tucked away on the wall between the many Italian eateries that dot the parish grounds was another.

This year’s festival was also the testing grounds for a new Italian-American centric newspaper.  The hope is the publication will make its debut in the early fall around the tri-state area.  This paper was dedicated to the traditions of Italian-American newspapers of the 20th century.  There were community events for the summer from around the region. And for those who always wonder what dialect is spoken in different parts of Italy there is a map to show what is spoken where in Italy.

But the festival is all about the food and the rides.  WHYY photographer Gary Lindstrom took in some the pre-dusk scenes around St. Anthony’s.

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