13 Investigates


Popular San Gennaro Feast loses license, may not have May event

Bartenders cited for selling booze to minors
Posted at 6:00 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 16:56:31-05

A Las Vegas tradition, that tens of thousands have taken part in for decades, is in jeopardy. 

Contact 13 digs into why the county may shut down the San Gennaro Feast.

"They're really in this situation because they caused it themselves," says Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager. 

Event promoter Anthony Palmisano first ran into trouble in September when he moved the festival to Sunset and the 215 beltway next to Ikea. He asked for a permit after advertising the event, promising hundreds of jobs and contracting with dozens of vendors. The permit was granted with strict safety requirements. 

"We did a sting," says Brager. "And we do those because we think people need to do what they should do, when they say they're going to do it. There was underage drinking."

Undercover police officers cited six bartenders for serving alcohol to minors seven times.  

"That is just a big no for us in the county," says Brager.

So they suspended San Gennaro's license. And two months out, Palmisano still hasn't come to the Commission yet to propose plans for the May feast.

"Truthfully, I don't see that happening," says Brager. "Once again. Last minute."

San Gennaro first surfaced in Las Vegas 38 years ago in 1980 at the Italian-American Club. The popular event became a hit for families, offering a variety of ethnic food, rides for kids and live entertainment all day long. 

Brager says regardless of the event's history, public safety now is more important than ever. 

"Whether you've done something one year, thirty years, forty years, the climate has changed," Brager explains. 

Palmisano didn't want to go on camera. Over the phone, he said he's doing everything the county is telling him to do. He goes back for a hearing Thursday to see if the license will be reinstated.  He says he will even try to downsize the feast to fit a smaller venue if that will keep the tradition alive. 

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