Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

LIADO San Gennaro Festa is this weekend in Safety Harbor


Related News/Archive

One hundred-fifty pounds of ground chuck. Eleven dozen eggs. Oodles of bread crumbs. Secret seasonings. All hand-rolled into 1,200 reddish orbs, which are covered in oil and baked. Mama meatballs! It must be time for an Italian festival.

This weekend, LIADO, the Italian-American Women of Today, hosts the eighth annual San Gennaro Festa, which is styled after the famed New York City Feast of San Gennaro. The celebration takes place Saturday and Sunday at Safety Harbor Marina Park.

Besides raising money for worthy causes and providing the community with food and fun, the event highlights the cultural contributions of the boot-shaped Mediterranean country, said Barb Abela, co-chair of the event and vice president of LIADO, a local organization for Italian-American women with an active membership of 125.

"This is a special festival for Italian people because it helps us maintain our roots and pass our heritage to our children and grandchildren," she said. "It's also a way to share a realistic, positive view of Italian-American culture and heritage with our community."

The festival pays reverence to San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, said to protect the Italian city from natural disasters and plagues.

It begins at noon Saturday with a traditional religious procession in which the statue of San Gennaro is carried from the piazza near the park's fountain to the stage abutting the waterfront.

Then it's two days of merrymaking with grape stomping for the children, meatball- and cannoli-eating contests, puppet shows, street performers, genealogy experts, bocce ball, and children's crafts and games.

Entertainment includes the Da Vinci Brothers Comedy Opera, tarantella dancers, singers and musicians.

Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Joey Dee and the Starliters (known for the song Peppermint Twist) will headline the event. The band's leader, Joey Dee (real name Joseph DiNicola), is Italian-American.

On Sunday at 4 p.m., Tampa Bay's Bobby Palermo, another Italian-American, will share his best Neil Diamond impersonations.

Enjoy the entertainment while dining on meatball gyros, pasta fagioli (bean soup), calamari, sausage and peppers, and pizza. Top it off with a cappuccino paired with Italian delicacies like zeppoli (deep-fried Italian donuts) and pizzelles (waffle cookies).

Take a stroll through the "Tuscan Piazza," a cafe-like setting with scenes of Italy where you can sip wine and take in the scenic waterfront.

Admission for those 12 and older is $4. Proceeds from the Festa will benefit the St. Joseph's Children's Cancer Research Group, autistic students at Paul B. Stevens Exceptional Student Education Center, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America and the LIADO scholarship program.

"If you can't make it to Italy this weekend, come see us and have a real Italian adventure," Abela said.

Have an idea for a Diversions feature in north Pinellas? Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at [email protected]

>>If you go

LIADO's eighth annual San Gennaro Festa

Where: Safety Harbor Marina Park, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane

When: Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission: $4; children under 12 free

Info: Visit or or call (727) 724-4045.

LIADO San Gennaro Festa is this weekend in Safety Harbor 02/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 17, 2011 4:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Experts have some theories on who's carrying out Seminole Heights killings


    The words serial killer tend to conjure an image of a middle-aged white man, likely a loner. He stabs or chokes or strangles, murdering up close for the thrill, straight out of central casting.

    A memorial was set up where Anthony Naiboa, 20, was found shot to death in Seminole Heights. Some experts who have reviewed information in the case say that whoever is behind the three Seminole Heights killings may live in the area. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  2. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances is in serious jeopardy after a last-second 31-28 home loss to Louisville on Saturday.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  3. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight


    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  4. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'


    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  5. Police plan community meeting as search for Seminole Heights killer continues


    TAMPA — With people in Seminole Heights on edge following three related shooting deaths on their streets, police have planned a community meeting for Monday.

    The three Seminole Heights victims, from left: Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32; and Anthony Naiboa, 20. [Facebook, family photos]