Published on September 13th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Danny On The Corner’s Daniel Fratta On The 93rd Annual San Gennaro Festival & Zeppoles
The 93rd Annual San Gennaro Festival is now underway in New York, running through September 23rd. This year the feast announced a new eating competition, an inaugural Zeppole eating contest sponsored by Danny On The Corner. This much-buzzed-around Zeppole eating contest will join existing San Gennaro crowd favorites like the meatball and cannoli eating contests.
This year’s Grand Marshall of the 11-day celebration is New York-based actor Steve Schirripa, who I previously spoke with earlier in the year. The Grand Procession parade within the festival will be led by Schirripa and is scheduled to take place on the morning of Saturday, September 14th.
Owner of Danny On The Corner, Daniel “Danny” Fratta is a fourth-generation vendor and a member of the feast’s organizing crew Figli di San Gennaro. He has utilized his ancestors’ original recipe and inarguably mastered the craft of creating the perfect Zeppole. I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Fratta himself before the festival’s kick-off and highlights from that interview are below. More on the 93rd Annual San Gennaro Festival can be found online by visiting www.sangennaronyc.org.
You’re a fourth-generation vendor. When was the first San Gennaro Festival you attended?
Daniel Fratta: I have been attending the festival since I was born. 1980 was the first year I attended.
To you, how has the festival changed over the years?
Daniel Fratta: Just as Little Italy has evolved through the years, the feast has continued to develop with the current times. We have invested more into social media and added activities including more musical performances, a family day and additional contests such as the Zeppole eating contest. No matter the changes and updates through the years, we continue to keep the tradition and spirit of San Gennaro at the heart of the feast.
How long does it take to set up the festival? Is it a year-round effort with full-time staff?
Daniel Fratta: The feast is so important our community so we really start thinking about next year’s feast as soon as this one ends. Officially, the feast’s organizing crew, Figli di San Gennaro connects in early July to start planning logistics, activities and being vendor conversations. We work with Mort & Ray Productions who starts set up on three days before the opening of the feast.
This year a zeppole-eating contest is making its debut. Where did the idea for that come from?
Daniel Fratta: Zeppole is an Italian dessert favorite and my family has been making Zeppole for generations. Back in May, I was talking with one of my friends who jokingly brought up the idea of a Zeppole eating contest and the more we thought of it, the more it seemed like a great idea. The Cannoli and Meatball eating contests have been fan favorites for years and to introduce another, seemed like a natural progression.
To participate in the contest, what requirements are there?
Daniel Fratta: There are no requirement to enter. Potential contestants call to enter and we pick the top ten stand-outs to participate.
Feast aside, what are you currently working on?
Daniel Fratta: The feast is a passion project for me and I am proud to be a fourth-generation vendor and board member. Every year, we work to make the feast bigger and better and look forward to continuing to celebrate Italian heritage and traditions.
Finally, Danny, any last words for the kids?
Daniel Fratta: I hope everyone comes out to enjoy this year’s feast. It’s going to be the best one yet. And stop by Danny On The Corner!