Everyone is family at Holy Rosary Church, and to celebrate our extended family, the Very Rev. Pastor Jerzy “Jurek” R. Zaslona invites everyone to La Festa Italiana, the annual Italian street festival held in August in Historic Downtown Jersey City.
Starting, Wed, Aug. 15, from 5-11 pm, and running every day through Sunday, Aug. 19th, La Festa Italiana will transform 6th & Brunswick Streets into a lively block party filled with vendors selling delicious ethnic foods, bands playing chart-topping hits, and rides and games guaranteed to give kids memories that last a lifetime.
The entertainment roster for this year’s La Festa Italiana is a Who’s Who of talent who will get festival-goers swinging and dancing in the streets. Here’s the schedule: Opening night, Wed, Aug 15: THE CAMEOS; Thurs, Aug 16: DJ CARLOS SOUNDS; Fri, Aug 17: FIRST KISS; Sat, Aug 18: SUNSET SOUNDZ; and on closing night, Sun, Aug 19: TOTAL SOUL. Along with the bands, a DJ plays tunes at the corner of 6th & Brunswick Streets – every night of the festival!
New to La Festa Italiana and looking forward to rocking the crowd is the band SUNSET SOUNDZ based in North Hudson. Band member Tony Annacone says the band may be new to La Festa Italiana, but they’ve been playing together a long time and know how to get the crowd jazzed up: “We play Big Band songs from the 1940s all the way to Bruno Mars. We can’t wait to perform.”
On Sunday night, the 10-piece band Total Soul will take to the stage. This will be 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. “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. The NYC Mac Truck will have dishes like deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese bites; and Jerkin’ Chicken will be cooking Caribbean jerk chicken, and rice and beans dishes.
NJ Corn Stars – grilled corn with all the toppings – returns along with Delenio’s pizza by-the-slice, pastas and Italian specialties. Las Delicios del Calvo will be serving tasty Latin treats like chorizo, rice and beans, and non-alcoholic Pina Coladas. Maison Creperie will be making yummy dessert crepes and smoothies. O La La Empanadas will be firing up delicious empanadas and other Latin specialties.
White Star Bar which offers craft beers & specialty cocktails returns to La Festa along with Maglione’s Italian Ices; Mozzareppa; and VEGBAR Juice+Grub, specializing in fresh vegan juices. 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!”
A huge highlight this year will be Fr. Jurek’s Authentic Polish Table, where Holy Rosary’s pastor will be donning an apron and serving up specialties like kielbasa and pierogi. For ice cream lovers, Kreme Rollers will have the newest taste sensation, custom-rolled ice cream filled with delicious sweets.
Another new taste-treat, “Bacon Me Crazy” will delight festival-goers with hotdogs wrapped in bacon, and other treats. Owner Kathleen Sullivan, a Jersey City resident, says she’s thrilled to be in La Festa Italiana this year: “Jersey City is an exciting place to be. “It’s ‘foodie’. It’s community. I can’t wait to sprinkle bacon all over it.”
For the kids, La Festa Italiana will have lots of rides and games, and Cynthia’s Face Painting, too. A new festival highlight will be the “The HRC $10 Flea Market” held in the Parish Center Caffe where all the items will be just $10. Holy Rosary also supports local non-profits. This year, parishioner Stephanie Panzariello will oversee the Aluminum Cans for Burned Children (ACBC) program that raises funds for young burn victims admitted to the Burn Center at Saint Barnabas in Livingston. Throughout La Festa, red bagged-barrels will be available for festival-goers to recycle their aluminum cans. All the proceeds from the collected cans will go to the Burn Center.
As La Festa’s Opening Day – Wed, Aug. 15th – 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. At “A Taste of Campobasso”, we’ll have our Famous Wine & Peaches, and home-brewed Limoncello and Creamcello 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, cannolis, 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 return to its original location in the backyard opposite Caffe Italiano.
La Festa Italiana is grateful for the vital financial support of our sponsors, especially our Platinum Sponsor Adapting Social, a design and marketing agency in Asbury Park and New York. President and owner John Vagueiro says that as a dedicated Catholic, 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.”
Our Gold Sponsor, Ziggy’s Auto Body, also deserves our thanks, as well as our Silver Sponsors Monteleone’s Bakery, Riotto Funeral Home, The Brunswick School, Commonwealth Trucking/Fleetwood Forwarding, Tony Ferrara & Associates, SILVERMAN, and GothamWest. GothamWest owner Nima Nili says Holy Rosary’s La Festa Italiana is a valued tradition for the Downtown Jersey City community: “It’s where old traditions persevere and new traditions are created each year. GothamWest Builders would like to thank the Holy Rosary community for making it happen!”
We thank our Diamond Sponsors, too: LeeMark Electric, The Ambriola Cheese Company, Panepinto Properties, Sorrentino Electric, Catholic Cemeteries, DePierro Raddington LLC, and Yelp!
Triduum, and Feast Day Masses
On Sun, Aug. 12 through Wed, Aug. 15, Holy Rosary Church will hold the Assumption & St. Rocco Triduum. On the Opening Day of La Festa Italiana, 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 followed by a traditional street procession where the Holy Statue of Maria SS. Dell’Assunta will be carried through the streets as a blessing to the Downtown Jersey City community.
The St. Rocco Feast Day Mass will be offered on Thurs, Aug. 16, at 11 am, also followed by a traditional street procession. La Festa Italiana celebrates many traditions throughout the year. Fr. Jurek says: “Traditions and customs define us as a community and 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.”
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 133 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 2018, the Church will be open for visitors to see, up close, the magnificent beauty that is Holy Rosary Church. Visitors are also welcome to donate a 7-day Memorial Candle in memory 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.
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