PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Food and culture are front and center as part of the celebration of America’s oldest continuously operating outdoor market.
The Italian Market Festival continues today in South Philadelphia.
“It’s all about food, family, and fun,” says Alicia DeLuca, the festival’s assistant producer.
South Philadelphia’s famous festival celebrates over 100 years of rich history at the South 9th Street Italian Market.
Vendors and local businesses line the street for one of the city’s most popular block parties.
One such local business is Anthony’s Italian Coffee House.
Four generations of the Anastasio family have been a part of the Italian Market since 1907. They have owned and operated the coffee house since Tomas Anastasio arrived in Philadelphia by way of Ellis Island from Eastern Sicily.
Anthony Anastasio showcased one of the featured specials for this weekend’s festival — the “Grease Pole” latte.
“The grease pole latte is dark chocolate, caramel, sea salt, vanilla, espresso, steamed milk with a little bit of whip cream on top,” says Anthony Anastasio.
Festivalgoers are invited to participate in the traditional ‘Grease Pole Challenge’.
The grease pole climbing competition, known as the Albero Della Cuccagna, takes place at 9th and Montrose Piazza from May 19-20, beginning at noon. Teams will race up the 30-foot-high pole greased with lard to reach prizes of meats, cheeses, gifts and money.
Jeff Lurie, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, even made a surprise visit to check out the famed pole.
Another must-see for visitors is the Procession of Saints, which will begin at 11 a.m.
The festival also boasts all sorts of family-oriented events geared towards celebrating Philadelphia’s culture and history.