Mermaids will mangia this week, when the San Gennaro Feast packs rows of sausage-and-pepper vendors into the parking lot of the Silverton.
Traditional Italian fare from 250 food vendors will be served as hourlong music sets are performed by Zowie Bowie, Lena Prima and a bevy of Italian singers -- as well as members of "Jersey Boys," "Legends in Concert," "American Superstars" and "The Rat Pack is Back."
"In the Italian culture, we bring the community together and celebrate through food and music," explains festival organizer Anthony Palmisano.
Palmisano, 46, has run the festival since his great uncle passed him the zeppoli baton in 1996. (Vincent Palmisano, a promoter of Manhattan's version of the feast starting in the '40s, brought it to the valley in 1980, where it debuted as more of a famine: The initial outing at the Italian-American Club on East Sahara Avenue featured 10 vendors.)
This will be the feast's debut at Silverton, after occupying part of the Grand Canyon Shopping Center since 2006.
"It's as close as Las Vegas gets to Mulberry Street," Palmisano says.
Chazz Palminteri, in town performing "A Bronx Tale" at The Venetian, will serve as the grand marshal.
"He's gonna be walking around, saying hello and signing autographs," Palmisano says.
The Feast of San Gennaro is a religious celebration of the patron saint of Naples. Saint Januarius, a martyr to both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, is famed for the reputed miracle of the liquefaction of his dried blood at the cathedral of Naples.
Palmisano throws two annual feasts; the other in September with a religious procession.
"In May, I don't do that, because I don't want to overdo it," he says.
A portion of the proceeds, according to Palmisano, will be donated to Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, Most Precious Blood Church in New York's Little Italy and Nevada Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Contact reporter Corey Levitan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0456.