STATEN ISLAND, NY – On all the September members of Staten Island Advance, one thing is for sure: Where there’s a fig tree, there’s a story. And at this particular time of year when fruit crops are bearing — or not bearing fruit — figs can be a real conversation starter. It certainly brings people from all over Staten Island to sing the praises of all things ficus.
So I encourage you to make this a great day. Vig-tastic, I say! It is, after all, the twelfth anniversary of the fig festival – now taking place on the third Sunday of September at the Al-Fanar National Museum in St. George from 2-6 pm. Celebrate being alive and enjoying perfect sunshine before the season turns to weather complaints.
Whether you go or not, I can tell you many fig festival stories over the years. Laugh, cry, or indulge in it, the event had been elusive a few days before September 15, 2012. That’s when someone at the parks department realized that this informal, organic gathering at the Turtle Fountain in Midland Beach had grown into a few hundred fig fanatics. strong.
Parks seemed to panic. They started asking crazy questions like, “Who’s responsible?” and “Is there insurance on this thing?” and “What are they going to do about using the bathroom?” As I reflect on those times of plant persecution, I imagine a bureaucrat conjuring up the nefarious activities of rabid gardeners—spraying around the fountain and throwing figs at each other—with naked-breasted men in private clothes chanting “Holyoke! Holyoke!” and the women in the group so who knows what.
Let my people be, think of the collective fruit community. Rest assured – fig folk turn out to be the calm, patient and generous kind with little to no expectation except tasting and speaking figs. As history shows, they are proud and loyal to a cause, such as keeping a ficus praise day.
But anyway, that’s how Fig Fest ended up traveling around town before reaching its final resting place at the National Lighthouse Museum. In the meantime, grateful farmers and long-time attendees honor the premises of insurance-carrying venues—and bathrooms as a feature—like Casa Belvedere in Grymes Hills, Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn in Charleston, The Veranda at Silver Lake golf course and now, the foundations of the Lighthouse Museum. Definitely, the parking is smelly. But the festival has finally become a home.
This year, former fig king and grand fig marshal Robert DeFalco is presiding over the event. And based on the amazing experience of riding his catamaran on Forest Avenue St. Patrick’s Parade along with the start of the party, Official Real Estate Agents of Real Estate Dancing Robert DeFalco, I know it’s going to be a great time and a great SILIVE.com/Advance read on the next. I’ll bet a fig on it!
Pamela Silvestri is the Advanced Food Editor and fig fan. It can be accessed at [email protected].