What do Gubbio, Italy (population 31,939) and Jessup, Pennsylvania (population 4,517) have in common? Saint Ubaldo!
Every year, during Memorial Day weekend, thousands of people pack the streets of Jessup to witness the "Running of the Saints". The tradition first arrived in the town of Jessup in 1909, and has been a staple of the community ever since.
A simplified explanation of the event is as follows:
Three teams race through the streets, each carrying statues of one of three Saints. Saint Georgio, Saint Anthony, and of course, Saint Ubaldo. The race ends when one team reaches the end, removes the statue of their Saint, and crosses the finish line. (If you're a gambler, put your money on Ubaldo. It's tradition that he wins.)
Oh yeah, the statues of the Saints aren't supposed to touch the ground. It's a respect thing. Which brings us to what happened in 2023.
As the three teams began to run back, UPHILL on Church Street in Jessup, the Saint Ubaldo statue hit a low hanging wire. They continued on. The Saint Georgio statue cleared the wire. As you see in the video, Saint Anthony wasn't so lucky.
The good news is that the Saint Anthony team rallied together and were able to repair the fallen Saint, and finish the race. Teamwork makes the dream work.
The origins of the original "la Festa dei Ceri" go back all the way to the year 1084 in Gubbio, Italy. The full story of the tradition can be found here, on the Saint Ubaldo Society website.
The video on this page was shot by Jason Barsky on Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Jessup, Pennsylvania.