Celebrating culture, religion and food

By Michelle Costanza

June 13, 2014 Updated Jun 13, 2014 at 11:50 PM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) People poured into St. Anthony of Padua's parking lot as Feast Days kicked off on a soggy Friday evening.

"St. Anthony was one of the greatest preachers who lived during his time, an awful lot of miracles have been attributed to him as well," explained Fr. Jim Serowik, pastor of the parish in Endicott.

While the celebration centers around the saint, parishioners said there is no better way to celebrate than with a big Italian feast, and therefore, you could find most of the people centered around the food.

Everything from spiedies, pasta, pastries, frozen sangria, and even a touch of down-home barbecue could be found under the tents.

"Lamb spiedies are to die for. I've been coming since I was a boy, and I get to appreciate the culture," said Nino Samiani, an Endicott native.

But the 10,000 to 12,000 people who are expected to attend this weekend prove that you don't have to be Italian -- or religious -- to enjoy it.

"I'm here to hang out with my friends. We love pizza fritte," said Ethan Panella of Endicott.

The dough for the fried dough-like specialty was being pounded out, rolled and dipped in hot oil, served fresh to order.

Carol Putrino, "chairwoman of the pizza fritte booth" said she knows a thing or two about the sizzling favorite.

"I've been here every year. I make sure they're doing their job," Carol laughed.

Live music and entertainment including local bands, accordion-playing-pros, kids games, raffles and a casino can also be found under the tent this weekend.

The Feast Days runs Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. And the culminating event, a traditional procession with the statue of St. Anthony, will follow Sunday morning mass at 11:30.