WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (PIX11) — The 136th annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast kicked off Wednesday night in Williamsburg. The festival lasts 12 days and features rides for children, carnival games, food stands and dozens of vendors.
The Feast honors Our Lady Of Mount Carmel and Saint Paulinus, an Italian Bishop from the 4th Century. On Sunday, July 9, parishioners will take part in the “Dancing of the Giglio.” A 7-story high statue of the Saint will be carried on the backs of 125 men.
The structure weighs several tons because an entire band also sits on top of it as it is carried through the streets.
Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello told PIX 11 News the tradition started hundreds of years ago in Italy.
“In the typical Italian fashion, every parish tried to outdo the other parish with the size of the statue, so the statue got bigger and bigger over the years,” Gigantiello said.
Joey Dee of Dee Best Zeppoles and Calzones has a family-run stand at the festival.
“My grandparents started this in 1923. Our zeppoles actually have a hole in the middle because they are a donut. Most of them you’ll find are just round little dough balls,” Dee told PIX11 News.
The festival goes until July 16 and is located off Meeker Avenue near North 8th Street.