The Feast of the Assumption, started by Italian immigrants 114 years ago, is a celebration of faith and family hosted every year in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. Though there are plenty of Italian food and games to partake in, the true purpose of the Feast is to celebrate August 15, the day on the Catholic Liturgical calendar when Mary was assumed into Heaven.
Drawing over 100,000 visits every year, this four day long street fair spans the entire length of Mayfield road between Euclid Avenue and the border of Cleveland Heights. Festivities include carnival rides, Italian food vendors, arts and crafts booths, live music, and, at 6:00 p.m. on each of the four days, a recitation of the rosary at an outdoor shrine by Holy Rosary Church.
The Feast of the Assumption is sponsored by Holy Rosary Church (12021 Mayfield Road) and begins on August 15 at 10:00 a.m. with Mass. Mass is followed by a street procession with costumed marchers, music, and the likeness of Virgin Mary carried throughout the neighborhood.
The 2012 event marked the 114th Feast of the Assumption celebration in the Little Italy neighborhood and it’s certainly no surprise that this street fair still draws such a huge crowd. For four days out of the year, everyone gets to feel a little Italian by indulging in delicious Sicilian pizza and homemade meatballs, traditional music, and, of course, authentic Italian desserts from Corbo’s Bakery like freshly made cannoli, cheesecake, and tiramisu.
Most local shops and restaurants stay open during the street fair, so it’s wise to allot some extra time on your trip to check out some favorites like Topsi Turvi, Presti’s Bakery, and Mama Santa’s Pizzeria.
Aside from incredible food and entertainment, the Feast of the Assumption serves most importantly as a preservation of the Italian culture and a showcasing of the old world charm this wonderful little neighborhood has to offer.