An ancient post-harvest tradition, now recognized as an Italian national holiday on August 15, Ferragosto is celebrated several weeks later in the Belmont section of the Bronx. This Little Italy festival is blessedly free of hawkers and games of chance; even so it's crowded by midafternoon. Longtime fairgoers come early to catch up with friends and neighbors, to grab a chair on the shaded side street in front of the entertainment stage, and of course for the food.
Most of the festival vendors do business right on Arthur Ave. and set up stalls outside their storefronts. My suckling pig ($6), butchered and grilled by Biancardi Meats, included one tiny trotter and, hidden beneath the heap of tender pork flesh, a small marrow bone, too. Also shown: one of several spit-roasted pigs; fast-disappearing and quickly replenished samples of fresh mozzarella; grilled sausages; a bakery worker squeezing off a few rounds of zeppole; peaches and wine. Chilled clams and oysters on the half-shell, and pastries of all stripes, were also in abundance.
Arthur Ave. between Crescent Ave. and 187th St., Belmont, Bronx
(The 2013 festival was held on September 8)