Jimmy Galante Speaks on Danbury’s San Gennaro Festival and Being Italian-American
His notoriety is unlike any other person in Danbury's modern history, Jimmy Galante's reputation precedes him. But what is that "rep?" The stories about him, whether factual or not, have a way of overpowering anything he may say. At some point, a character with this much intrigue, surpasses and nullifies the actual human being.
Jimmy doesn't speak to the media anymore, certainly not the local media but he's allowed me to speak to him about his next adventure, Danbury's San Gennaro Festival.
I'm in an enviable, but impossible position. I get to be one of the only people to talk to Galante on-the-record, but I'm not going to attempt to fill in all the blanks left by time. I've set out to find out about the San Gennaro Festival and why he wanted to bring this to life.
The San Gennaro Festival AKA the Feast of San Gennaro is a celebration of the Patron Saint of Naples and Little Italy, Saint Januarius. The Catholic Calendar date for the feast is September 19, but the cultural festival will be celebrated in Danbury this year between Wednesday, September 7 and Sunday, September 11.
Below is a transcription of my digital discussion with Jimmy Galante.
Milano: Why did you want to do this event?
Galante: "We're looking forward to bringing something exciting to Downtown Danbury. As you know, my family and I have been part of this community for years and the people of this city welcomed us with open arms when we brought the Trashers downtown and we thought this was a great opportunity to bring something for the entire community to enjoy. The Feast of San Gennaro means a lot to us and we hope the community gets excited, and out of their homes after this pandemic, to enjoy some fun times, good food, and entertainment together."
Milano: What does being Italian-American mean to you?
Galante: "Being Italian-American is important to my family. You know Italians have a long history in this country and even more so in Connecticut. But at this event, everyone is Italian. We're celebrating a culture, but also food and music that can be appreciated by the entire community."
Milano: Historically, Danbury has been known for its massive events like the Danbury Fair but it's been a long time. Do you believe the city is ready for this?
Galante: "Without a doubt. I believe the people of this city are starving for an event like this, especially after enduring what we all have the last few years. It's a great time to bring people together and it's an event the whole family can enjoy. We're really hopeful to grow this into a meaningful, annual event that people from all over Greater-Danbury, and beyond, will want to be a part of."
Milano: Who, other than you, is responsible for this event?
Galante: "I need to recognize my entire family. My wife Tina and her staff at Diversified Printing Solutions have done an outstanding job with the marketing materials and getting everything ready for this event. They've come up with some cool t-shirt ideas I really think people are going to be excited about. My son A.J. has been an integral part of the planning of the event as well, and my son Austin has handled all the social media and marketing for this event. My other son Devin has played a big role getting volunteers for us, and will be cooking up some delicious food at La Famiglia and burgers and dogs all weekend long so make sure you stop by and see him. My daughter Candace and my beautiful granddaughter Leila have been a tremendous help throughout the process, as well. It really means a lot to have my family working alongside me on this. I could not have done this without my partner Mike Dicostanzo who has put on many festivals throughout the years in New York. I'd also like to thank the Mayor's office, City of Danbury, especially the Public Works and Police, and Fire Departments, and the Danbury Parking Authority for helping us make this happen for Danbury."
Milano: What do you hope to gain from this event?
Galante: "Nothing. This is about the entire community being able to come out and enjoy themselves and hopefully create memories that they can share, and continue each year. We purposely made it free to attend because we want all of Danbury to come out and be part of this 5 day celebration."
Milano: What food are we most likely to catch you eating at San Gennaro?
Galante: "Now, you didn't hear it from me, but there may be a meatball eating contest, and if you'll go up against me Lou, I'll be there."
Galante and the rest of the event organizers have gone to great lengths to make the Danbury San Gennaro an authentic experience. The arches and lights from the Little Italy celebration have been brought to Danbury and installed already. The traditional procession will also feature authentic Catholic and Italian statues.
While you're there, you can try the amazing Italian food, see live music. Music will come from Louis and JoAnn and the Uptown band on Wednesday, American Pop on Thursday, Friday it's The Zoo and Saturday The Dilemma takes the stage. There will also be a DJ on Sunday. San Gennaro will also feature beer & wine, amusement rides for the kids and laser light shows.
As a Danbury resident and Italian-American, I'm very excited to be part of the fun at San Gennaro. I'll be broadcasting live from the event with my radio co-host Ethan Carey on behalf of I-95.
P.S. I've asked Jimmy for a chance at a more in-depth, general discussion about his life and I think there is a good chance that will happen.