ROSELLE PARK — From June 9 – 12, the parking lot at the Church of the Assumption in Roselle Park became a wonderland of rides, games, food, entertainment and, after dark, sparkling lights. The 11th Annual St. Anthony’s Italian Feast had come to town, creating a great place to bring family, have fun with friends, and be entertained.
For weeks the white, green and red lawn signs announcing the feast had been popping up like mushrooms as far away as Linden, and two weeks prior the downtown movie theatre marquee had been requisitioned from Jason Tamman, the theatre owner, to have the feast “get its name up in lights.” And all the promotion delivered, with four days of diverse and spectacular fun.
For entertainment, there were karate and Taekwondo demos, dancers from numerous local dance schools put on delightful programs and poetry readings by Roselle Park’s Poet Laureate Leona M Seufert and Barron Arts Center PoetWednesday’s director, Deborah LaVeglia.
Under the parish food tent, with their blue aprons and white volunteer T shirts, the parish “cooking club” (really volunteers who enjoyed cooking great food) served the most delicious meatball sandwiches, sausage & pepper sandwiches, and Italian hot dogs. Another tent held the Rosary and Altar Society’s Café where “home made cookies” that had been baked in the parish’s new oven, were sold. There was also a great variety of liquid refreshments with a “beer garden” that had been set up in a tent in the rectory driveway and non-alcoholic beverages available from The Knights of Columbus, Msgr. Loreti Council 3240. Vendors provided a variety of traditional foods such as zeppole, calzone, funnel cakes and other goodies like specialty fried potatoes and pizza baked right at the Feast in a portable brick oven.
Though the weather did not provide sunshine each day, that did not dampen the excitement of the visitors. Everywhere you went you could see smiling, laughing, delighted children and their parents enjoying the games and taking their turn at trying to win prizes. They also experienced some exciting rides: a ferris wheel that could tip you upside down and the “Round Up” that spun you around, gravity squashing you out against the wall. By closing time each day, the place was as crowded as Grand Central Station.
What would a “feast” be in honor of a Roman Catholic saint if there weren’t a statue and a traditional “procession” in his honor? On the grounds of the feast stood the recently refurbished statue of St. Anthony, which had been languishing in storage since the current church was built, and had been part of the parish when it was founded in 1907. This statue became the centerpiece of the procession held on Sunday, June 12, after the noon Mass. Over 150 parishioners walked behind this statue and Fr. James F Spera carried a holy relic of St. Anthony. Music, provided by the Tony Neglia Band, could be heard blocks away and attracted a huge street crowd.
To view pictures of the Feast’s highlights and the St. Anthony procession, visit the http://www.assumptionrp.com/Feast.html.
(All photos courtesy of Church of the Assumption)
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