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October 1, 2014

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32nd annual San Gennaro Feast under way at the Silverton

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Paul Takahashi

Ciro Giorgio performs with Melly and Emilio on Thursday at the San Gennaro Feast at the Silverton Casino, 3333 Blue Diamond Road.

San Gennaro Sights & Sounds

Sights and sounds from the September 2010 San Gennaro Feast, held at the Silverton Hotel and Casino.

Map of Silverton Casino Hotel

Silverton Casino Hotel

3333 Blue Diamond Road , Las Vegas

Beyond the Sun

The temperature was still in the triple digits as the sun set over the Silverton casino, where the hundreds of Las Vegans gathered Thursday for the 32nd annual San Gennaro Feast.

“The heat is obnoxious, but once the sun goes down, it’s all food and fun,” said Michael Prise of Las Vegas. “No temperature can keep me away from a good chicken Parmesan sandwich.”

Food was on the minds of everyone who attended the twice-yearly feast, the valley’s largest Italian festival held in honor of the patron saint of Naples.

For food vendor Adam Barkin, the Feast is a time to share family recipes handed down from his Italian ancestors.

“It’s the greatest thing to see all the people out here trying the authentic Italian food,” said Barkin, owner of Anthony’s World Famous Sausages in Las Vegas. “We really enjoy cooking it.”

Barkin’s restaurant will cook about 300 pounds of sausage and 500 pounds of meatballs over the course of the feast, which began Tuesday and ends Sunday. So, what makes Barkin’s food special?

“Italian ingredients, and it’s made by an Italian old lady,” he said. “The recipes date back 30 years ago from Naples.”

For Emilio Baglioni, the feast reminds him of his childhood growing up in a rural village in northern Italy. Baglioni immigrated to the United States in 1959 and has been playing the accordion at the festival for the last 10 years.

“It’s so beautiful after so many years,” Baglioni said. “You feel at home here.”

Johnny Luv, his wife, Jennifer, and their children Seth, 9, and Riley, 6, have been coming to the festival for the past 11 years. The Summerlin residents have a system for navigating the maze of booths.

“We come around 5 p.m., do a tour of the merchandise, hit the games and the rides, eat dinner while watching the shows and then eat dessert on the way out,” Johnny Luv said. “We’ve got our routine set.”

For the Luvs, it’s less about celebrating their Italian heritage and more about forging family traditions.

“It’s about spending time together,” Johnny Luv said. “It’s like our Christmas. We hope our kids remember and pass it down.”

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