Williamsburg was blessed with ideal weather for this year's ceremonial lifting of the Giglio on Sunday, with blistering sunshine unleashing the traditional outpouring of perspiration from participants and bystanders alike. Havemeyer Street was packed with revelers gathered to watch the five-story, four ton Giglio paraded in front of The Shrine Church Of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church with a 12-piece brass band and a priest standing on top. They've been doing this every summer since 1903, and it's quite a spectacle:

It takes over 150 brawny Italian guys to lift the Giglio, acting on orders from a rotating cast of "Capos" (honored members of the parish) using a megaphone to shout "Forward! Up! Down! Dance! Circulate!" etc. The ritual, which originated with Italian immigrants from the Nola region, honors St. Paulinus, an early Catholic bishop who was, the story goes, enslaved by North African pirates after offering himself as a substitute for a local boy who was abducted by the brigands.

When he was ultimately released, St. Paulinus returned to Nola in a boat and was showered with lilies by joyous local townspeople. (Giglio means lily, and a statue of St. Paulinus adorns the top of the tower.) As if the five-story Giglio tower wasn't enough work, there is also a large boat paraded through the streets, with a statue of St. Paulinus and parishioners acting out the parts of the Turks and the pirates. It takes about 120 guys to hoist that around.

The festival continues through Sunday, July 17th, and features many classic Italian delicacies including seafood, zeppoles and braciola, as well as kiddie rides. If you missed yesterday's Giglio lift, be sure to head over to Havemeyer and North 8th Street on Sunday for the "old timers" lift at 2 p.m. Here's the whole schedule.