The 1st Annual Little Italy Meatball Fest

What's a little friendly competition between Italians, right?

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This Sunday, more than 200 people congregated at the Little Italy Lodge to decide once and for all who makes the best meatballs. The sold out event, created by Joseph Gardella, proprietor of Joe Benny's focacceria located on South High Street in Little Italy, was designed to bring the community together and to benefit the Pandola Adult Learning Center. The Pandola Adult Learning Center offers a multitude of Italian language classes, cooking classes, and more, and draws students from all over to join our rich community of Italian Americans. 

Inside the lodge.

Inside the lodge.

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Even if you weren't one of the 10 brave entrants who submitted their secret meatball recipes, everyone who purchased a $10 ticket was able to get in on the fun. Upon arrival, everyone was given a coin which would serve as your vote. Everyone piled up their plates and gave each meatball a fair shot, but in the end, it was Margaret Miller's meatballs that took home the trophy. 

 

The "Wooden Spoon" Trophy.

The "Wooden Spoon" Trophy.

The line up!

The line up!

The meatball business is serious business! Most Italian families have their own signature recipes for their meatballs and sauces. Whether it's a mixture of various meats, breadcrumbs or spices, no two meatballs are the same.

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Throughout the event, there were various raffles where the winners were awarded Orioles tickets, gift certificates to neighborhood restaurants, and a 50/50 raffle that reached over $1,200!

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The Son's of Italy Lodge in Little Italy hosts dinners every Friday night. For more information, please visit http://www.littleitalylodge-osia.org. 

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The meatball eating contest competitors! Phil "The Fury" was the winner.

The meatball eating contest competitors! Phil "The Fury" was the winner.

Pictured with Ron Matz of WJZ News.

Pictured with Ron Matz of WJZ News.

With Joseph Gardella, owner of Joe Benny's.

With Joseph Gardella, owner of Joe Benny's.

Joe and the Joe Benny's team did a wonderful job of organizing and executing this fun event that many of us look forward to in the years to come. While the neighborhood has many restaurants and businesses that contribute to the community, its events like this one that bring us all together and make our neighborhood and community thrive. 

Pictured here is the winner, Margaret, with her now famous meatballs!

Pictured here is the winner, Margaret, with her now famous meatballs!

Pictured above is Margaret Miller, the winner of the 1st Little Italy Meatball Competition. Congratulations Margaret!

Overall, the event was a tremendous success and was a fun way to support Baltimore's Little Italy community. My friends and family who attended all had a blast and can't wait to do it all again next year. Thank you to Joseph Gardella and the Joe Benny's team for organizing this event and supporting the neighborhood! 

To learn more about the Pandola Adult Learning Center, visit http://www.pandola.baltimore.md.us. 

To learn more about Joe Benny's, visit http://www.joebennys.com. 

Tanti baci,

The Sweet Paisana

 

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