Bringing Italy to the Southern Tier

By Michelle Costanza

June 8, 2013 Updated Jun 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Authentic smells will be wafting through the streets of Endicott this weekend as 500 volunteers work to bring Italy to the Southern Tier.

St. Anthony of Padua's 30th annual Italian festival kicked off Friday in anticipation of the Patron Saint's feast day, celebrated June 13.

The Feast Days festival is expected to attract more than 10,000 parishoners, Italians and members of the community to the block-party-like spread of food and entertainment.

Attendees can take part in cash and prize raffles, a casino on Friday and Saturday night, and enjoy traditional accordion music and local bands.

The selection of food is almost as large as the crowd it draws.

From sausage, grilled pizza, pasta, calamari, and Italian Ice to frozen sangria and fried dough, there is something for everyone.

Volunteers say the festival is a tradition that helps bring the community together to celebrate, while also honoring the church's namesake.

"It pulls everyone together. It's the best of who we are, it helps us to grow in our relationships in our welcoming community, and it's a great time," said Fr. Jim Serowik, of St. Anthony's.

The Italian Feast Days continues from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday.

A traditional Italian street procession honoring the Franciscan Saint will follow the 11:30 a.m. mass on Sunday.

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