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Running of the Saints returns to Jessup for St. Ubaldo Day

For the first time since 2019, St. Ubaldo Day festivities are taking place in full force in Jessup.

JESSUP, Pa. — Two years have passed by in Jessup without a tradition that's stood the test of time. The long-awaited return of the annual St. Ubaldo Day festival takes place this Memorial Day Weekend.

"We've waited so long to do this. And finally, our saints are going to see the light of day to come out of our chapel," said Scott Hall, President of the St. Ubaldo Society.

Flashback to 2020, during the pandemic's first wave, the mood here was much different. 

"It's just a sad time. We never thought we'd see the day where we'd have to cancel our Festa dei Ceri," Hall told Newswatch 16 at the time. 

The Festa dei Ceri – or the Running of the Saints – only happens in two places in the world: here in Jessup, and Gubbio, Italy, where the St. Ubaldo Day festival originated. 

"It all started in the 1100s. When Bishop Ubaldo, at the time, protected the people of Gubbio from the barbarians," said Victoria Hanson, secretary for the St. Ubaldo Society.

"Back in the early 1900s, our relatives were all here. Every one of us are either second and third generation from Gubbio. And when they came here, they missed their homeland, and one of the traditions that they brought with them was the festival at the race of the saints," said David Valvano, president of the Family of St. Anthony, one of the three saints that get carried through the streets of Jessup atop the 'ceri.'

"We correspond with the people in Italy. We still have relatives in Italy. So the connection is still there. It's blood," said Albert Alunni.

Alunni is the 'Primo Capitano' this year, a role he was chosen for in 2019 and is just now getting to fulfill.

Tony Roberts is the team captain for St. Ubaldo, who always wins the race.

"I'm just looking forward to get back out on the street with the guys. It's been since 2019. So to say I'm excited is an understatement."

And they'll be joined by thousands more from near and far who come to Jessup for the occasion. 

It all takes place this Saturday. The running of the saints is at 6 p.m. For the full schedule of events, visit the society's Facebook page. 

Check out WNEP's YouTube channel.  

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