2022 Italian Market Festival marks a return to revelry

The South Ninth Street Street Festival will once-again welcome the masses this weekend after its pandemic hiatus.

The last two Mays have felt particularly empty without the annual festival hosted by the South 9th Street Italian Market. The 2022 festival will make a triumphant return this weekend from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Meatballs and ziti. Photo credit: Italian Market Festival.

Stretching from Wharton to Fitzwater streets, the revitalized celebration promises great food, upbeat music, physical challenges, arts and crafts, with a side of faith thanks to the procession of saints. Food will be the dominant presence, with plenty of Italian delights as well as other cuisines.

Climbing the greased pole. Photo credit: Italian Market Festival.

Along with the food, art and crafts stations, and musical entertainment, the Grease Pole competition will add to both days’ revelry. Always a test of tenacity and teamwork, the duel at the Ninth and Montrose Streets piazza invites contestants to climb a 30-foot pole for a shot at prizes and long-lasting local fame. Look for other contests and opportunities for family fun.

Players at the John Marzano Hand Ball Tournament. Photo credit: Italian Market Festival.

The John Marzano Halfball Tournament is a Saturday slugfest that supports youth baseball. The event takes place at the Christopher Columbus Charter School, between Ninth and 10th along Christian Street. It takes its name from South Philly native John Marzano, who went on to become a Major League Baseball catcher.

Procession of Saints. Photo credit: Italian Market Festival.

Anyone who is seeking divine intervention can view the Procession of the Saints following Sunday’s 10 a.m. Mass at Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi Church, 712 Montrose St.

Photo credit: Italian Market Festival by L. Bercky, Visit Philadelphia

Because of the 2020 and 2021 cancellations, this year’s gathering has all the makings of a well-deserved good time, especially since local legend Jerry Blavat will DJ from 2 to 4 on Sunday. No matter how long someone attends, it will be just like old times for veterans and a chance for newbies to add something to their May calendars.

View the official website for more information.