By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It’s all about family, fun and food. And it happens this weekend right here in Baltimore.

Ron Matz reports Little Italy is cooking up a storm for the 84th Feast of St Gabriel.

All hail St. Gabriel, and that’s what they’ll do in Little Italy this weekend with plenty of good food and family fun in a big benefit for St. Leo’s Church.

“It benefits St. Leo’s in so many ways. It not only brings in people for a close gathering, it also helps us maintain our sound fiscal background. It helps St. Leo’s pay all our expenses,” said Fr. Sal Furnari, of St. Leo’s Church.

Sue Corasaniti coordinates 200 volunteers.

“Our volunteers range in age from 10 to 90-something, so now we’re letting the mature volunteers rest and have a glass of wine and watch the younger volunteers work,” Corasaniti said. “The ladies of the parish have been making thousands of pizelles and Italian cookies. The men and ladies of the parish have come down this week to prepare the food. The planning has been going on for months.”

They’ll serve up cannolis from Vaccaro’s,  Roma Gourmet Sausage, thousands of pizelles, wine and much more.

“We have chicken parm, eggplant parm and meatballs, and if you get really hot we have the pasta ravioli dinner in the school gym,” Corasaniti said.

There’s even a bocce ball tournament with the bocce master Dino Basso.

Roma Gourmet Sausage will sponsor Sunday’s sausage eating contest.

“Last year it was a big success,” Justin Pecora said. “We pick about 12 contestants. It’s free to sign up. The contestants will have five minutes to eat 10 links of sausage. The winner gets $100, two Orioles tickets and 10 pounds of Roma sausage.”

“We’ll be serving our classic mild Italian sausage at the festival,” said Mike Pecora said. “It’s probably our number one because everybody loves the mild sausage. It has peppers and onions, the classic way.”

But the real winner is St. Leo’s, raising money for the future.

“We invite everyone for a good time and fellowship. We have a lot of good food, good prizes and a welcome to our traditions. Come join us. It’s a family event. We’ve been doing it since 1928,” Furnari said.

The St. Gabriel Festival is noon-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.


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