Starting in 1914, the Feast of St. Michael was celebrated in late September in Saratoga Springs’ Dublin neighborhood, which had started as an Irish enclave, then became home to Italian immigrants and African Americans, among others, and is now known as the Beekman Street Arts District.
As the statue of Saint Michael was paraded down Beekman Street, people pinned money to him, which benefited the Principessa Elena Society, a community resource for newly arrived Americans that still exists today in the neighborhood.
The “Festa” grew into a widely beloved celebration that embraced live music, plentiful cuisine at Dublin’s numerous Italian restaurants, and even fireworks on the outskirts of town. It ended in the 1970s, but was then revived annually from 1997 to 2001.
The Saratoga Springs History Museum will host “Everyone Went to the Festa,” an event celebrating the Feast of St. Michael in Saratoga Springs, on Tuesday, September 27th.
The presentation is based on those interviews and includes public and family photos ranging from the 1920s to the 1990s, and newspaper clippings going back to 1914. Presenter Mary Ann Fitzgerald, Saratoga Springs City Historian will revisit and discuss this tradition that was so important to the neighborhood, and to the people of Saratoga Springs.
This event will begin at 7 pm and is free and open to the public. The Saratoga Springs History Museum is located at 1 East Congress Street, in Saratoga Springs. For more information, call (518) 584-6920 or visit the Saratoga Springs History Museum website.
Photo of Saratoga Bandstand 1952 by Mario Izzo.