Road Trippin' | Saint Ubaldo Festival

St Ubaldo Festival in Jessup

Every year in the small town of Jessup, groups of Italian Americans come together to bring a piece of the homeland to America.

This is the running of the saints for the Saint Ubaldo Festival.

"This festival is only run in two places in the world. Here in Jessup, Pennsylvania and in Gubbio, Italy," says Michael Cappellini, Sain Anthony Capodieci.

Legend say Saint Ubaldo convinced a barbarian to not take siege of Gubbio. When he returned to town, the festival was born.

"A milk man and a few of his friends built a makeshift platform, put a seat on it, and ran Saint Ubaldo through the city streets to show the townspeople that their beloved bishop was still alive," said Cappellini

While the festival begins early Saturday morning, the race takes place in the afternoon. Following a day of mass and church services, participants break into three teams, all with distinct banners and colors.

"The three teams represent the social classes. Saint Ubaldo represents the stone masons, Saint Georgio the merchants and middle class and Saint Antonio represents the farmers and students" explains Cappellini

Just after the saints are lifted onto their platforms, another tradition marks the start of the race.

Now many parts of this festival are steeped in tradition and one of the more unique is destroying these hand-painted vases (sent) directly from Italy. The vases are tossed and broken into quite a few pieces. Legend says if you get a piece of the vase it's one year good luck but this is the part everyone goes for, the handle, that equals a lifetime of good luck.

Cappellini says the tradition can be A LOT to take in for someone on the outside but it's THOSE people who he encourages to not just watch…but to take part.

"We invite anybody and everybody, even those who don't have ties to Gubbio, even those who aren't of Italian descent, we do this for our ancestors that came over. We don't do it for ourselves and the sooner we understand that aspect here in this town and the sooner we understand that our passion and devotion is to Saint Ubaldo for this day, the day will continue forever.”

The race begins at 5:00 this Saturday on Powell Avenue in Jessup. Find out more at

Road Trippin' is sponsored by the Lackawanna County Visitor's Bureau.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off