Italian Market Festival returns with food, diversity

Andrew Kramer
May 19, 2019 - 11:16 am
Italian Market Festival 2019

Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The weather couldn't have been more perfect on the first day of the weekend-long, open-air Italian Market Festival along Ninth Street in South Philadelphia.

Thousands of people filled the streets, scoping out the live music, art and, of course, all the food and drink options.

"It's tradition in Philly," said Rob Powers, who comes to the festival every year. "It's probably the most brotherly love activity you can come to. And it's the Italian Festival, but it's not only Italian. It's everything that is included; it's a neighborhood feel."

For every pizza or cannoli booth, there were others serving food and drinks from other cultures, too.

"(The Italian Market) is becoming more multicultural. I think that it's probably a richer market because of it," said attendee Steve Altomari. "As an Italian person, I can speak on behalf of the whole Italian community, this is second to none, this is great."

"It's amazing — tons of people, lots of color, diversity, food, smiles," added Celia McCauley-Wittle.

She and her husband, Derek, were in town for the weekend from Virginia. Their mouths were turning different colors as they ate their first authentic Philly-based Italian ice.

"It's awesome," said Celia.

"We have a place in Roanoke that sells it, but this is the first time we've had it here," said Derek.

Of course, Roanoke's Italian ice isn't quite as good as the one he was eating at the Italian Market.

"No, it's not," Derek agreed.

The festival continues until 6 p.m. Sunday.