Hollywood is preparing to paint the town red, white and green this weekend when the 10th annual Precious Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro comes to town. The Italian street festival, hosted by event co-founder Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla, will take over Hawthorn Avenue (between Highland and Orange) from September 23 to 25. The festival is a fundraiser for the San Gennaro Foundation, which since 2002 has donated over $750,000 to local charities that benefit Los Angeles shelters for children and families, food banks for the homeless and school programs for underprivileged youth, among others.
"The Feast of San Gennaro is something my family and I look forward to every year," said Kimmel, who is Italian on his mother's side.
Besides the meatballs and the grape-stomping, it's a great opportunity for Guido/Guidette-watching: Last year Snooki from Jersey Shore dropped by, and this year they're expecting Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola and boyfriend Ronnie to class up the joint.
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Inspired by the 80+ year-old New York City tradition, the Feast celebrates Italian culture, entertainment and cuisine, and will feature tons of food, music, genealogy research, a kids' corner, bocce, bingo, carnival rides and games. Surprise celebrity guests will join the cooking team as they demonstrate Italian recipes on the Precious Cheese La Cucina Italiana Cooking Stage.
A Procession of St. Gennaro on Hollywood Boulevard will begin at noon on Saturday, September 24 and conclude with a Mass on the Main Stage presided over by Monsignor Antonio Cacciapuoti.
In honor of the Feast's 10th anniversary there will be special events going on throughout the weekend to raise funds for their various charities, including an attempt to break the Guinness World Record of Longest Marathon of Television Watching (the current record is 86 hours, 6 minutes and 41 seconds of continuous television watching) by watching 100 hours of Italian-themed films and television shows and a "Gravy/Sauce" cooking competition hosted by The Meatballs of Comedy.
The festival venue is located across the street from the Hollywood and Highland complex, directly behind the Jimmy Kimmel Live Theater at 1651 N. Highland Ave. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. General admission is $5; kids under 12 are free. All proceeds benefit the San Gennaro Foundation, established to provide aid to children and families in need in Los Angeles. For more information, call (818) 508-0082.