WARNING: If you're not from Brooklyn, you might not get this.
So I took J.J. to his first 18th Avenue Feast. So it got me thinking what should a first-timer know about the infamous beast -- err -- feast...
* On the first night, the zeppoles are fair game. Beyond that, though, it should be noted that vendors use the same oil for the remainder of the week, and stomach side effects may occur.
* Don't be scared of the guy with the snake around his neck -- he's just trying to make you his friend.
* The high-heeled, big-haired, decked-out kids, teens, moms and grandmas who attend consider this to be a huge event, so be sure to dress accordingly, set your hair, and cake on your makeup.
* And if you need to check yourself, pop into a local store and find a mirror -- the clerks will find it amusing, I promise!
* Enjoy a parade of ethnic cuisine comprised of 12 sausage and pepper stands in an 8-block radius. Side note: Lucy is the queen of the sausages (take that however you'd like)
* A little know fact... Remember that Saturday Night Live skit with the three guys at the bar, bobbing their heads to "What is Love?" and gyrating on any girl who happened to walk by? That skit is performed live every year at the feast. Don't miss it!
* It's a free night out... that will empty your wallet. You'll pay $25 for a T-shirt that says "Italian Power" (until you wash it once), $7 for a Toblerone left over from last year, and $5 to throw a basketball into an oval hoop (check out the side view if you don't believe me).
* Some big game prizes worth noting: a Dean Martin 8x10 in a $2 frame; a red, white, and green horn for your car; a goldfish or hermit crab that will die on the way home.
* Ooh that smell can't you smell that smell? After a while, you can't tell if it's the sausage that's been sitting out in 90 degree heat, the pony ride, or urine puddles in local driveways from the night before.
* It's a musical celebration! The Caleps, Bensonheart's own Little Suzy, KTU (the official goomba station), and illegal CDs for sale everywhere.
* Let's not forget, this is a big year. With Azzure winning the World Cup, there's no telling how much the Italian-themed souveniers will cost.
* Another little know fact... this is a religious feast celebrated on an avenue that has no church, and for which the honored saint wears a wig!
Enjoy la festa!