Here’s the deal: the festival of San Rocco in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, is just a magnificent event. It’s a summer carnival. It’s fireworks, good food, happy music, family gatherings. It’s a kind of hard Italian donut. It’s also Sunday Mass and an unforgettable procession that winds through the streets and occasionally into the houses of some generous families. It’s ample food and drink, good times and a healthy hike.
This San Rocco is a celebration of families, ancestral roots, the old country and the old neighborhood. It ends with two giant statues that dance while fireworks explode along their arms and shoulders. It doesn’t matter if you’re Italian or not, if you’ve never been there, you’ve missed one of Western Pennsylvania’s greatest weekend parties.
We went to Aliquippa for San Rocco 2004 and had a magnificent time. We met lots of people who love this event, and we hung around long enough to get invited to Sunday dinner and to see why so many folks want to participate in all the many activities. We now know why in mid-August, it makes good sense to holler, “Viva San Rocco!”
RICK'S FAVORITE LINKS
The folks in Aliquippa have an extensive web-site for their celebration.
The Library of Congress calls it one of America’s “Local Legacies.”
Read about the immigrants and the “ethnic experience” in Beaver County: