Black Girls Feast in Little Italy?
Kind of funny that my trip to the 119th Feast of the Assumption festival started with an assumption, a DM and an address from a person I’ve only met once, Alea.
The assumption was that the girls from Black Girl in the CLE were at the Feast of the Assumption, the DM was a video of people partying, and the address was Alea’s location so we could connect and kick it.
The only reason why we were not at the Feast was that we were recovering from the events of the night before.
The other concern was the question, do black girls even go to Little Italy? Better yet, can we go to Little Italy? See, coming up I was constantly told there was a time when it was unsafe for black people to drive through Little Italy. I was also instructed to stay away from Murray Hill and a certain section of Mayfield Road, especially at night. Even though these warnings came in the 80s and 90s, I never forgot them.
Needing a little courage I texted the other bloggers to see who was down to go to Little Italy, but they were all out doing other things. Always down for a new adventure in Cleveland, I headed to the Feast, solo, hoping to connect with Alea.
My arrival and the timing of this year’s event
After finding a place to park, far away in Cleveland Heights, I begin the walk down Mayfield. I admit I was a little nervous to go to a place I was told had been unfriendly to Black people after I had spent the day watching the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia. But after I arrived my concerns were forgotten.
Delicious authentic Italian food and lots of it
Food is a major part of the Feast festival with the street was lined with local restaurants selling pizza, cannoli, meatballs and so much more. Don’t ever go to the Feast if you are dieting. You’ll want to eat everything. Quick tip, most vendors at the Feast only accepted cash so plan ahead to avoid the ATM transaction fees.
It's a party
Down every side street and most of the alleyways there were small parties taking place. My first stop was to the the patio space of Trattoria. White tents with signs offering adult beverages and great music summoned me over. People were drinking, smoking cigars and dancing to the tunes of a DJ playing line dance and hits from the 80s and 90s.
After dancing, eating and drinking at Trattoria, I finally connected with Alea. She showed me around and took me to the patio of Angelo’s Nido Italia Ristorante where there was another party. More great music, more dancing, and more drinks! While dancing and having a good time, I began to notice the diversity of the crowd, mixing, mingling, and dancing together willingly. I danced, laughed and connected with so many different people. I had totally forgotten about the hatred and events that were happening in Virginia.
As soon as I arrived I ran into people I knew, Cleveland is definitely a big, small town. I was pleasantly surprised to run into my sorority sisters and very surprised, again about the diversity of the crowd. I saw many who I assumed to be proud Italians, but I also saw people from all backgrounds. It did seem that most of the blacks there were in their 20s and 30s, but on a whole, the demographics of the Feast mirrored any other Cleveland festival I’ve attended. As an aside, there was also a lot of good looking men there too.
I feel bad that I stayed away from Little Italy all these years, and had never been to the Feast of the Assumption Festival. I plan to go back before it was over and will definitely return again in the future. I’m so thankful for Alea for showing me this amazing party and glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to experience something new.