The influx of international influences on the South 9th Street Italian Market, and its surrounding neighborhood is a wonderful assault on the senses. The smell of herbs and spices, fresh seafood , and ground coffee beans mingles perfectly with the crackle of the butcher’s brown paper, multiple languages heard the on the street, and the sight of fresh sheets of pasta and silky ribbons of homemade chocolate drying in storefront windowsâ€“not to mention the dozens of rows of colorful produce. The market can be especially cozy in the winter when merchants use barrels of fire to keep shoppers warm and all of the smells are heightened. With historic stores like Claudio’s Specialty Foods, Sarcone’s Bakery, The Spice Corner, and Dibruno Bros; Coffeehouses like Rim Cafe and Gleaner’s Cafe; Bar & Restaurants like Villa Di Roma, La Lupe, Sabrina’s Cafe, 12 Steps Down; and so many eclectic places in between, it’s no wonder why America’s oldest outdoor markets is also one of the most famous.
But for two nights out of the year practically every storefront located in and around the market comes together for something bigger. Everyone’s Italian on May 15th & 16th (10 am to 5pm; Rain or Shine) when the nation’s oldest outdoor market throws its annual festival. Bring the whole family to enjoy the Annual Procession of Saints, 3 different stages of LIVE entertainment, the 3rd Annual John Marzano Half Ball Tournament fundraiser and Food, Food and more Food! Here’s a look at some of the key events that this years festival will offer.
Half Ball Tournament
The John Marzano Half Ball Tournament, sponsored by Triple Play Sports, is a way to remember his legacy with one of his favorite pastimes.Half Ball is a street game special to Philadelphians. Played in close quarters, half ball provides the excitement of baseball without breaking windows of neighboring row houses.Teams can enter this single elimination tournament for $100 with all proceeds benefiting the Marzano Family Education Fund. Bats and balls are provided, and each player receives a free Tournament Commemorative T-Shirt from Triple Play Sports.
Procession of Saints
Plan to visit the Festival for the traditional St. Paul Parish Procession of Saints. Led by Father Gerald Carey, this procession is an annual part of the parish May celebration. It starts at Saint Mary Magdalen Church, located at 712 Montrose Street and pauses for the Blessing of the Market at 9th and Washington Streets. The procession ends at Saint Paul Catholic Church at 808 S. Hutchinson Street (corner of S. Hutchinson and Christian Streets).
Enjoy two days of free concerts on three different stages throughout the festival. Sing along to classic rock and party band favorites on the WMGK main stage at 9th and Christian Streets. The bands playing this year are: Pawnshop Roses, Toonz, Dog Bite Money, All That Matters, Dead Poets, and Bughunters. Local music and entertainment center, Connie’s Ric Rac, also plays host to a stage that will host a diverse variety of music and comedy.
But the main attraction of the event as always will be the diverse vendors, delicious cocktails & wine, and of course, the mouth watering food! from pasta, to sandwiches, cheese, cannolis, and so much more; their won’t be a moment where you’ll be going hungry! From an overview of the Italian Market Festival check out the events Website. And for an in depth look at everything that the entire market has to offer, check out its Website.