Yummy eats & dancing in the streets – that’s what everyone can look forward to as Holy Rosary Church prepares for its 116th annual La Festa Italiana, a street festival like no other to be held five delicious nights on 6th & Brunswick Streets in Historic Downtown Jersey City.
Starting Wednesday, Aug. 14, and running through Sunday, Aug. 18, from 5 pm-to-1l pm each night, the neighborhood surrounding Holy Rosary Church will come alive with a fun-filled block party of vendors selling fabulous ethnic dishes, popular bands playing Top-40 dance hits, and rides and games that will give kids happy memories to last a lifetime.
“Traditions and customs define us as a community,” the Very Rev. Pastor Jerzy “Jurek” R. Zaslona of Holy Rosary Church says. “La Festa gives us the opportunity to become a more integrated community. When people come to La Festa, they come for the music and the food, but they also come for the fellowship, to see friends, and create happy memories for their children. We are here to serve the people of Jersey City.”
Dancing in the Streets
The entertainment roster for this year’s La Festa Italiana is a Who’s Who of musical talent guaranteed to excite festival-goers to start dancing in the streets. Opening night, Wed, Aug 14: THE B STREET BAND – (the famous Bruce Springsteen Cover Band); Thurs, Aug 15: THE CAMEOS; Fri, Aug 16: FIRST KISS; Sat, Aug 17: SUNSET SOUNDZ; and on closing night, Sun, Aug 18: TOTAL SOUL. Along with these terrific bands, a DJ will play tunes at the corner of 6th & Brunswick Streets every night of the festival; and DJ CARLY performs at our Caffe Italiano Friday, Saturday, & Sunday!
SUNSET SOUNDZ will dazzle festival-goers for the second year in a row with Big Band songs from the 1940s and Top 40 hits, too. “We play Big Band songs all the way to Bruno Mars,” band member Tony Annacone says. “We can’t wait to perform.”
On Sunday night, the 10-piece band Total Soul will hit the stage; the band’s eighth consecutive year performing at La Festa Italiana. Bandleader Jeff Deitrle says the band keeps coming back for the receptive crowd, and to help Holy Rosary Church. “We get everybody dancing,” Deitrle says, “and we like supporting the Church.”
A Foodie’s Paradise
La Festa Italiana will be “A Foodie’s Paradise” with Food Trucks like Dellano’s/ Anna Maria’s mouth-watering Italian sausage sandwiches, Gyros and shish-ke-babs; and “Hold My Knots”, garlic knot chicken, meatball and eggplant parm sliders. White Star Bar which offers craft beers & specialty cocktails returns to La Festa along with
Maglione’s Italian Ices. New this year, Grace Catering’s Korean BBQ and My Yummy BBQ.
Maize arepa returns with some new treats, too, Taco Loco and the Kreme Bar. Kevin Herrera, Operations Manager for Herrera Foods says La Festa Italiana is always a good time.
“La Festa Italiana has always given us an experience to remember starting from the awesome people who go and have a good time, to the delicious rice balls the Church makes,” Herrera says. “The ambiance, the delicious food, the music -- it’s always a good time at La Festa Italiana.”
A highlight at La Festa Italiana will be Fr. Jurek’s ‘Authentic Polish Table’, where Holy Rosary’s pastor will don an apron and serve Polish specialties like kielbasa and pierogi. Lydia & Pat’s Fresh Seafood Bar returns and gourmet gelati lovers will be thrilled that Gia’s Gelato will be back. So will Al & Marianne’s Pure & Simple Flatbreads with their artisanal brick-oven pizzas: “La Festa Italiana is like coming home,” Marianne says. “It’s a great neighborhood feast; so much fun. It’s the one festival we look forward to every year. We love it!”
For the kids, La Festa Italiana will have rides and games, and Jillian Hernandez of The Brunswick School will be creating beautiful face paintings for the kids.
As La Festa’s Opening Day draws near, Holy Rosary parishioners are busily preparing Italian specialties that attract festival-goers, year-after-year. Treats like Zeppoles showered in powdered-sugar, and Rice Balls (Arancini) drizzled with tomato gravy always wow the crowds. At “A Taste of Campobasso”, we’ll have our Famous Wine & Peaches, and home-brewed Limoncello made by The Assunta Wine Girls, who will also be serving fine Italian wines. At Caffe Italiano, Holy Rosary’s Church Ladies will sell freshly-made cookies, cakes, cannoli, pies, coffee and tea. Hourly and Super 50/50 raffle tickets will be on sale throughout the five-day festival; and, the popular Money Wheel will once again be in the backyard opposite Caffe Italiano.
Gold, Silver & Diamond Sponsors of La Festa Italiana
La Festa Italiana, a 501©(3) entity, is grateful for the vital financial support of our Gold, Silver and Diamond Sponsors including Gold Sponsors ARCO Roofing, C-ZARenovations, Murray Paving & Concrete, JCT Solutions, Silverman, and Ziggy’s Auto Body. Silver Sponsors include Commonwealth/Fleetwood, Gotham West, Key Foods Fresh & Natural; Panepinto Properties, Riotto Funeral Home, and Tony Ferrara & Assoc. Diamond Sponsors are Adapting Social, The Ambriola Cheese Co, DePierro Raddington LLC, Leemark Electric, Monteleone’s Bakery and Sorrentino Electric.
Silver Sponsor Key Foods Fresh & Natural owner John Taveras says his company is proud to support La Festa Italiana. “It is important that we maintain our traditions in today's fast-paced world,” Taveras says. “La Festa Italiana gives us the opportunity to experience our community in the most pleasant way possible. We at Key Foods are happy to be a part of this community and proud to be part of La Festa Italiana.”
As a dedicated Catholic, President and Owner of Adapting Social John Vagueiro says he believes in giving back to the Church. “Church and community are first and foremost,” Vagueiro says. “Holy Rosary really cares. I know Church members who love the Church. The most important thing is keeping God first and supporting the Church’s work.”
Triduum, Feast Day Masses and Procession
On Aug. 12, 13, 14, & 15, Holy Rosary Church will hold the Assumption & St. Rocco Triduum. On Aug. 15, at 11 am, the Feast Day Mass in veneration of Maria SS. Dell’Assunta – a holy day of obligation – will be celebrated. Fr. Jurek, who serves as Dean of the Deanery, along with clergy of the Deanery, will offer Mass. The San Rocco Feast Day Mass will be offered on Fri, Aug. 16, at 11 am. A special Sunday Mass Venerating Maria SS. Dell’Assunta & San Rocco will be held on Aug. 18 at 11 am followed by the traditional Street Procession where statues of Maria SS. Dell’Assunta and San Rocco will be carried through the streets of Holy Rosary’s neighborhood as a blessing to the Downtown Jersey City community.
Founded in 1885, Holy Rosary Church is the first Italian Roman Catholic Parish in New Jersey; and La Festa Italiana is Holy Rosary’s special way of saying thank you to its parishioners and neighbors. This year, the Church celebrates 134 years of serving the spiritual needs of its parish and the Historic Downtown Jersey City community. For many years, La Festa Italiana has been the Church’s biggest fundraiser for the restoration and upkeep of the Church. During La Festa Italiana 2019, the Church will be open for visitors to see up-close the magnificent beauty that is Holy Rosary Church. Visitors are invited to donate a 7-day Memorial Candle in Memory of/or in Honor of a loved one.
For more information, please call us at (201) 795-0120 or (201) 776-9222, or visit our website: www.lafestaitalianajc.com; our Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/lafestaitalianajc; and our Instagram page, @holyrosarynj.
SOURCE: Sally Deering
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