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The 116th annual feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Paulinus of Nola, otherwise known as the "giglio festival," kicks off July 9 in Williamsburg.

The festival offers live entertainment, food, parades, a bazaar with games and children’s rides, but the highlight is the annual "dancing" of the Giglio and Boat, held this year on July 13 at 2 pm, July 17 at 7 pm and July 20 at 2 pm. The 4-ton, handcrafted giglio tower - and a 12-piece brass band - will be carried through the streets on the shoulders of 130 men.

The boat commemorates the return in the fourth century of St. Paulinus, the Bishop of Nola, Italy, from captivity. Upon arrival he was met by joyous townspeople who welcomed him with lilies (giglio in Italian).

An exhibit of photographs by Larry Racioppo exploring this religious neighborhood celebration, "O Giglio e Paradiso," can be viewed at the Safe-T-Gallery, 134 Bayard St. between Manhattan and Graham avenues in Williamsburg, through July 26. A detail of Racioppo’s "Sunbather & Giglio" is pictured at left.

The Italian fest runs through July 20, 7 pm to midnight weekdays, and 11 am to midnight weekends on the streets surrounding the church, located at 275 North Eighth St. at Havemeyer Street. For more information about the giglio festival, call (718) 384-0223. For the Safe-T-Gallery, call (718) 782-5920.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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