To say that Our Lady of Grace Church knows how to host a perfect party would be an understatement.
Sunday’s 9th Annual Primavera, an extraordinary event featuring munchies, memories and milestones, will long be remembered as “The Party of 2018 in Johnston.”
For some people, the Primavera was a chance to walk around Fioretti Hall and sample everything from stuffed mushrooms, spinach pie and pink vodka sauce penne, just to name a few of the featured foods.
For others, the Primavera was like a family reunion, meeting up with people they hadn’t seen in years.
For everyone, it was a chance to pay tribute and honor a parishioner and Rhode Island’s “Top Cop” – Johnston Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini – a highly-respected Hall of Fame law enforcement official for 53 years and counting who was chosen and served Sunday as the Grand Marshall.
“It was an extraordinary honor to be the Primavera Grand Marshall,” Tamburini said amid the color and pageantry of his reign. “I feel blessed that I have been able to take this success I have had in my law enforcement career and do something positive with it. So by honoring me today helps our parish community, I am honored to do that.”
Rev. Peter J. Gower, OLG’s popular pastor, quickly added: “Our beloved Chief expressed it well when he thanked all the vendors for coming to his parish and giving back to the community through the donations of such wonderful delicacies.”
“Father Gower is our JPD Chaplin,” Tamburini said. “With the Father’s blessings we have had an amazing partnership.”
Tamburini, who was accompanied by his wife Marie and his entire family, was thrilled with his most recent honor and issued a huge thank you to Father Gower, Chairman Joseph Andreozzi and the Primavera Committee for all their hard work in putting this memorable event together. I also want to thank the volunteers and vendors who catered this delicious feast with some of the best food in Rhode Island.”
One such restaurant was Silvio’s, which is owned and operated by Silvio and Ann Marie Patriarca, who Councilman Robert V. Russo noted “are making more history today along with Chief Tamburini.”
“The Chief has been in law enforcement for 54 years and the Patriarca’s have been a staple in Johnston for a half century,” Russo said. “Those are certainly milestones with lots of memories.”
Primavera 2018 had a total of 37 vendors that ranged from the David and Laure Ashworth’s award-winning Parma Ristorante on Route 44 to the husband and wife tandem of Arnold and Patricia Vecchione who served homemade stuffed mushrooms under the banner of Johnston’s Department of Public works, for which “Arnie” serves as director.
Primavera 2018 was unlike any in OLG’s history.
“When you think of a community event, it means everyone in the area coming together,” Father Gower said. “Today (Sunday), it seemed like the entire town of Johnston came together to support this event.”
Some committee members estimated that more than 360 people sampled a variety of foods, listened to Italian music played by accordionist Arthur Marano and purchased countless raffle tickets on a day when OLG’s community status peaked at an all time high.
“It was amazing to see every age group here today,” Father Gower said. “There were children from our first communion class to a woman from the parish celebrating her 107th birthday. This was truly and event for all ages.”
That “wonderful woman”, as Father Gower announced with a smile, was Emma Pezza, last year’s Grand Marshall who was on hand with her family and shared the day’s spotlight with Tamburini and Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, the 2016 Grand Marshall.
None of Primavera 2018, though as Father Gower emphasized Sunday, would have happened without Chairman Joe Andreozzi.
“I think the entire town has come to know Joe for he has visited very establishment sharing with them all that we do at Our Lady of Grace; he’s tried to bring the parish and the community together in an insurmountable way. To put this together, Joe has been working for six months along with the community and truly we want to thank all of them for their hard work.”
Father Gower, who also heaped words of thanks and praise upon Mike Montecalvo, WPRI-TV News Anchor who did an extraordinary job as the day’s emcee, then emphasized: “As a parish the proceeds of such an event help us to continue to reach out to the community sharing the faith and goods news of our God, that all are love and our community is a place to experience that love of God.”
Perhaps Tamburini, when he was nearly finished thanking everyone for “such an extraordinary honor, said it best about Primavera 2018.
“I want to thank each and every person that came here today,” said the Chief. “A good time was had by all.”