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Here are some pictures from 2006 of some of Wilmington's many festivals during the warm weather. The location and dates of each festival that I attended are listed, as well as some commentary. The most pictures are for the Italian Festival, since that is by far Wilmington's biggest and best festival. I did not attend every festival, and so only a few are shown here. Therefore, there are no pictures of other festivals, like the Hispanic Festival, RiverFest, and Bob Marley Festival.

May 12-14
Rockford Park in The Highlands neighborhood

Activity in Rockford Park, with Rockford Tower as a backdrop.

One of the highlights of the Flower Market is the chance to go up on Rockford Tower.

Looking towards Newark, with Iron Hill in the distance.

Looking south towards Delaware City. You can just make out the Reedy Point Bridge in the distance, which carries State Route 9 over the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal near Delaware City.

Wilmington's skyline.

Wilmington's West Side, with the neighborhoods of Little Italy and Hilltop clearly visible.

Wilmington, with the Delaware Memorial Bridge visisble to the right.

The skyline.

June 3-11
Rodney Square in the Center City neighborhood

June 6-9
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in the Tilton Park neighborhood

Early on the first day of the festival.

Traditional dances in the evening.

June 11-18
St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in the Little Italy neighborhood

The St. Anthony of Padua Italian Festival is held every June at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in the heart of the Little Italy neighborhood on Wilmington's west side. The festival takes up 4 city blocks, and is by far Wilmington's largest festival. The St. Anthony's Italian Festival is also the largest ethnic festival on the East Coast, drawing around 125,000 people every year for the week-long event. People come from all around the United States, and now even from other countries, for a night or two at the Italian Festival. This year's farthest guests were from Olevano sul Tusciana, and these Italians were here as representatives of their city, which is Wilmington's newest Sister City.

The Festival boasts many fun and cultural activities throughout the week. Classical concerts were held in the church, as well as tours of the beautiful, hand-made church itself. Lessons in speaking Italian are given at certain times, and locals may go to a geneology tent to trace their roots. Wine tasting and wine making are held on various nights, as well as how to cook traditional Italian dishes. There is plenty of authentic Italian food to sample at one of the 5 or 6 food courts, and the food courts also double up as beer tents for everyone to enjoy themselves at. Traditional Italian and contemporary music are played on any of the 4 or 5 stages built in the food court areas, providing entertainment for the huge nightly crowds.

Decorating the streets for the festival.

A storm is rolling in as they prepare the neighborhood for the festival.

The surrounding Little Italy neighborhood really gets into the festival and shows its pride.

Classical concerts were held inside of the church.

Carnival rides set up in Father Tucker Park. Father Tucker Park is a park on a city block named after the first priest of St. Anthony of Padua Church. Father Tucker was not Italian, but his devotion to the Roman Catholic Church, to St. Anthony of Padua parish, and to the Little Italy residents earned him the respect of the Italian community.

More carnival rides set up in Father Tucker Park.

A statue of St. Anthony of Padua was set up outside with some prayer candles for people to pray to St. Anthony.

A band plays some Italian music at one of the several stages.

Some old couples dance to some Italian evening serenades.

Looking down Scott Street on a muggy evening.

Looking down the street at some of the food shops and souvenir shops.

One of the many food and beer tents.

Another beer tent, with one of the many stages. This stage featured Italian bands.

On the last day of the festival, a procession of saints is held through the Little Italy neighborhood. Spectators may get holy cards of the saints as their statues pass by, with a small $1 donation asked for in return. The Fesitval always culminates to this procession, as the Italian Festival is centered around the feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

The procession is about to start.

The procession starts right in front of the church.

The statue of Saint Rocco comes down the street.

The San Francesco di Paola Society of Wilmington, Delaware.

The statue of San Francesco di Paola. The man in the foreground is handing out a holy card to someone that made a small donation.

The Holy Name Society.

The Prince of Piedmont Lodge, promoting Italian heritage in the community.

Italo-Americans United of Delaware, also promoting Italian heritage in the community.

The statue of Saint Patrick. A statue of St. Patrick was included because of the large Irish population that also took root in Wilmington, specifically in the Forty Acres neighborhood. Local Irish descendants handed out the holy cards for St. Patrick, and when asked why the Irish were handing out the cards, the reply was "because the Italians won't do it."

Mother Cabrini, otherwise known as St. Frances Cabrini. I believe Frances Cabrini is the first person to have lived in the United States to have been canonized a saint.

An Italian-American band plays some historic and religious songs.

The Saint Lucia statue. A statue of St. Lucia is used to portray the Swedes, who were the first people to colonize Wilmington. Wilmington was Sweden's only attempt at colonization in the New World.

The statue of Saint Rita. Along with a holy card, a donation got a rose.

The statue of Saint Gabriel. A donation got you a rosary to go along with the holy card.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A donation to this statue got you a Scapular along with a holy card.

The statue of Saint Francis de Sales. A local Wilmington all-boys high school, Salesianum School, was named for the Salesian Order, which was named after St. Francis de Sales.

The parish branch of the Knights of Columbus.

Saint Pius X, who was Pope (hence the strange name). Pius was Pope from 1903 to 1914.

Padre Pio, now St. Pio. In the foreground, you can see a donation taking place.

Mater Misericordia.

Another band plays Italian tunes.

Women and children in traditional dress lead the way for the statue of St. Anthony of Padua.

The statue of St. Anthony of Padua makes its way down the street.

The St. Anthony of Padua statue is greeted with the most fanfare.

Saint Anthony of Padua. Small loaves of bread are given out along with a holy card with a donation.

Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of the parish.

Many people like to follow the St. Anthony statue, the last part of the procession, as it makes its way through Little Italy.

I followed the statue of Saint Anthony as it made its way along the streets of Little Italy.

The statue of St. Anthony finally makes its way back to the church.

A crowd gathers around the statue upon stopping.

The bands play some religious tunes after the statue of St. Anthony reaches the church.

The permanent statue of St. Anthony fits perfectly between the Italian and American flags.

St. Anthony sits outside of the church.

The statue of St. Anthony stands in front of the hand-crafted church.

St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church

Hope to see you next June at St. Anthony's Italian Festival!

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