The festival was founded by a small group of Italian Americans residing in Watkins Glen to honor the Feast of the Assumption, which occurs each August. To celebrate, a procession of men carried the Virgin Mary on their shoulders through the streets of the village, ending in Lafayette Park. Over the years, the celebration grew and the location had to be changed to Clute Park. It is now a three-day event that attracts more than 50,000 visitors. Today, the festival boasts a food, craft, and gift marketplace, midway with amusements, live entertainment, games, displays, contests, and more!