Hampton Bays is offering a slice of Little Italy to the East End—and some zeppole, ravioli, and wine to go with that slice. At the first ever San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons, coming to Good Ground Road this weekend— Saturday October 1 and Sunday, October 2—“there’s going to be a lot of food,” promises Simone Scotto. “Lots of food.”
Scotto knows all about feeding the Hamptons, having opened Scotto’s Pork Store with his sister Rachele in Hampton Bays in 1998. But he’s been focused on doing more than that for some time. As the fall would give way to winter every year, Scotto began thinking more and more about how to bring people back out to the East End, until he hit upon the San Gennaro Feast. “I came up with this idea about three years ago when I was trying to figure out a way to extend the season out here and give the community something to do,” he says. “What else was there to do in October besides go pumpkin picking?”
Not that there’s anything wrong with pumpkins. But Little Italy’s famous Feast of San Gennaro, the annual celebration in lower Manhattan that draws millions of revelers and just celebrated its 85th year, provided more inspiration for Scotto. “I used to go to that festival in the city all the time and it was so much fun, so I thought, Why can’t we have one out here?” he recalls. “So I pulled a few people together who I knew could help get it done. Now hopefully it’s a success and it becomes an annual thing.”
The inaugural Hamptons version will “have a carnival, six bands, a classic car show, street vendors,” Scotto tells. It will have it’s own San Gennaro statue, which Scotto’s family had made in Naples and is awaiting its debut inside Scotto’s store. “We have a parade to commence the Feast at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Grand Marshall, Jimmy Papandrea, he’s been in town many years—he’s an Italian American who has done a lot for his country as well as his community.”
Community is at the forefront of this whole thing—not just for Scotto. “It’s all volunteer work, nobody’s making money off this,” he says. “Any proceeds we do make are going to Maureen’s Haven”—the local charity whose self-stated mission “is to protect and empower the east end homeless by providing shelter and compassionate services, information and support to enrich their lives towards self-sufficiency.” The goal of giving back for a good cause and a good time has gotten everyone in the spirit.
“We have the fire department selling the beer. We have two vineyards—Raphael Vineyards and Vineyard 48—selling wine, and there’s wine tasting, too.” His own place “is going to do a lot of food—pizzas, sandwiches, focaccias, paninis, we have an Italian bakery with us, my gelato guy—a lot of festival foods.
“It’s not going to be all Italian, since it’s a community event and not an Italian fest, but it’s an Italian theme. It’s like a feast to promote Hampton Bays and bring people out here. We’ve had nothing but a positive attitude toward this—everybody loves the ideas. Who’s not going to want to walk around looking at a classic car, eating some pizza or a zeppole?”
The San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons is Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Good Ground Road in Hampton Bays. For more information, visit sangennarofeastofthehamptons.com.