It was over 130 years ago, not long after a group of South Philadelphia immigrants opened the first co-op in America at 917 Federal Street, that another group of immigrants, this time Italians, followed their friends and neighbors to South 9th Street to sell fresh fish, fruit, and vegetables. Next came butcher shops, serving the best meat in the city, and eventually cheese shops, restaurants, and bakeries. Together these entrepreneurs formed the Italian Market, the largest outdoor continuous market in the country. Though the character of the market has changed significantly with a diversifying popultion of Mexican tiendas and taquerias, Asian eateries and groceries (hmmm….pho), and even music clubs, the Italian Market remains a Philadelphia landmark.
If you haven’t been, this weekend is the time, as it’s the annual Italian Market Festival, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm . Check out the Procession of Saints, live music from the WMGK house band, a brand new half ball tournament to benefit the Mummers, and so much food and ice cold Peroni that even your Nona might think everyone is full enough. If you love sausage (and who doesn’t), Esposito’s Meat is celebrating its 100th year in business by stuffing a 100 foot sausage. It’s the kind of event that just might entice you to make your home in South Philly like it did me.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t also check out Jazz on Colorado Court at Lucky Olds Souls on Saturday. We’ll have co-op members there on hand with plenty of information and smiling faces.
Not for nothing, but youse are gonna have a great weekend.