NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The 95th annual San Gennaro party kicked off in Little Italy on Thursday after COVID-19 canceled the event last year.
The festival on Mulberry Street features food, music and fun while celebrating Italian culture, CBS2’s Thalia Perez reported.
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The sellers said they were excited to be back, but doing all of this with caution due to the coronavirus.
Selling Italian pastries at the festival is a family tradition for Jennifer Aquilino and her mother, Nancy Rimesso, which started over 36 years ago.
Being together means so much more this year. They said Rimesso was sick with COVID-19 last year and spent 10 weeks on a ventilator in the intensive care unit.
“We are very excited. We lost last year, but we have to keep the tradition going. Life must continue. You have to bring New York back to life and this is the perfect way to do it, ”said Aquilino.
With new concerns about the virus spreading among crowds, many vendors have said they are taking extra precautions.
“If we wear a mask, we have a certain social distance. We wish well, ”said Michael Darouiche.
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” We put [acrylic barriers], and most sellers have done that too. I try to keep a little distance, ”said Bruno Donato.
Meanwhile, the city’s health department is investigating 16 cases of COVID-19 that have been linked to the Electric Zoo music festival on Randall’s Island over the Labor Day weekend.
Partygoers attending the event were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
The sellers have said that the latter cluster is definitely on their minds. It is therefore the resumption of business.
“The feast of San Gennaro is not just an affair. It’s a tradition, ”said Donato. “Many of us vendors and locals here look forward to seeing each other every year.”
The sellers have said they would like to see this festival season end on a high note despite their concerns over COVID.
The feast of San Gennaro runs until September 26.
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CBS2’s Thalia Perez contributed to this report.