The Feast of St. Mark showcases Italian culture.
In its first five years, St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church’s annual Italian festival has grown into an event that draws people from outside Alabama and sells out tickets each year.
The Feast of St. Mark, held on the church grounds, is a celebration of Italian music, food and culture that honors the Italian community that started the church.
Event chairman Matt Scalici said this year’s festival includes the introduction of Via San Marco, an outdoor “boulevard” of about 15 food tents offering pasta, sausage, desserts and other Italian fare from local vendors. All food on the boulevard is included in the entry price except beer, wine, limoncello and a few specialty items.
“It’ll be like our own Little Italy,” Scalici said.
In addition to Via San Marco, there will also be vendors selling cookies, pastries, gifts and more. Children can enjoy games, rides, face painting, pizza and Italian ice. There will be traditional dances performed by dancers from Fred Astaire Dance and Dance South, as well as music from Razzmatazz, Total A$$et$, a local opera singer and a Frank Sinatra tribute singer.
The Feast of St. Mark is April 29 and begins with Catholic Mass at 3 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. with a fireworks show. Parking will be available on the church property as well as St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. While proceeds from the festival are used to support church ministries, Scalici said the day is not primarily about fundraising.
“We don’t really do the festival to make money,” Scalici said. “For the most part it’s there to share our parish.”
Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and under. There is a limit of 3,500 tickets, and the festival usually sells out. Go to feastofstmark.com to purchase tickets.