Starting at 2 p.m., competitors will scarf down as many of the Italian desserts as they can in six minutes, trying to beat the record of 32 that professional eater Patrick Bertoletti set in 2011, according to media reports.
The contest, set to take place at Mulberry and Grand streets, is sure to draw crowds, but San Gennaro is about a lot more than food for many Italian-American New Yorkers, said Joseph Mattone, president of organizing group Figli di San Gennaro.
"It is a festive period of faith and redemption, a time for remembrance and reconciliation and a time for celebration," Mattone said in a statement. "The feast brings the world to Little Italy and Little Italy to the world."
Games and vendors will line Mulberry, Hester and Grand streets.
Former Gov. Mario Cuomo and wife Matilda Cuomo will lead a procession at 2 p.m. Saturday on Mulberry Street from Canal Street to East Houston Street.
The 11-day festival, expected to attract 1.5 million people, will run through Sept. 22. It's set to start at 11:30 a.m. daily and end at 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, midnight Friday and 10 p.m. Sunday.
The full event schedule is available online.