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FESTIVAL ITALIANO

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The annual "Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Paulinus of Nola" will return to Williamsburg for the 119th year on Thursday, July 6 at 6 pm.

A highlight of the 10-day-long festival will be the annual dancing of the 80-foot-tall, four-ton "giglio and boat" tower (pictured), which will be carried through the streets by 130 men on Sunday, July 9 at 2 pm. The boat commemorates the return of Saint Paulinus, the Bishop of Nola, to Italy from captivity in North Africa in 410 AD. When he arrived, the people held lilies ("giglios") as a sign of welcome.

There will be two other "giglio" liftings following Sunday’s initial run: one on Wednesday, July 12 at 8 pm and again Saturday, July 15 at 2 pm.

One of New York City’s oldest and largest festivals, there will be entertainment every night along with Italian delicacies, games and children’s rides in front of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish.

In addition to the "giglio and boat" parade, there are a number of other events that would make the bishop proud.

"Make sure to come on Friday, July 7 to the lifting of the children’s ’giglio,’ a 20-foot mini replica of the real thing," said Joe Dente, the captain, or "capo," in this year’s "giglio" lifting. "You also don’t want to miss Monday, July 10 at 8 pm: there will be a comedy and song duet by Pat Cooper and Floyd ’Uncle Floyd’ Vivino, two old timers who are always a huge hit."

Dente, 49, is in his second year as capo and describes the experience as one of the greatest events of his life.

"You wait all your life for the chance to be capo, and it’s really something you can’t explain," he said. "I’m excited for the lifting, it should go very smoothly. All of the men are great and try to give you 100 percent support."

According to Dente, the dance of the "giglio" begins at North Ninth and Havemeyer streets, goes down Havemeyer Street to North Eighth Street, then goes down North Eighth Street to Roebling Street, then reverses direction on North Eighth Street to Meeker Avenue, and ends at North Eighth and Havemeyer streets.

The Feast culminates Sunday, July 16 with the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, with a Celebration Mass at 3 pm at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

"The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Paulinus of Nola" will take place in front of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, located at North 8th and Havemeyer streets in Williamsburg from July 6-16. Tickets to the July 10 comedy and music performance at the church are $25 and can be purchased by calling (718) 384-0223. For further information on the Feast, call the same number, or visit www.OLMCFeast.com.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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