The annual Italian Festival held at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Fort Mill is still nearly a month away, but organizers are busy with the preparations. One yearly rite is the volunteers gathering to grind hundreds of pounds of pork to make authentic Italian sausages.
"It's a little slice of home for the parish and the community to enjoy," said transplanted Italian Nunzio Paolo Caruso on Thursday.
Caruso, who arrived in New York from Sicily at age 18, has been a member of St. Philip Neri and part of the Italian sausage making team for the past seven years. "And when I close my eyes in this kitchen, sometimes I feel like I'm back home."
This year's festival begins May 19 with a children's costume parade and runs through May 21. The final day of the festival includes the popular "Italian Idol" talent show. There also will be rides and games and, of course, scads of homemade Italian food.
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For a complete schedule, go to www.saintphilipneriitalianfest.org.
See video from the sausage making below.