Never before, according to records dating back to 2004, has the St. Rocco’s Feast and Festival enjoyed as much sparkling success as last week’s four-day fun, food and music fest.
“It seemed as though people were coming out of the woodwork,” mused Richard Montella, who has been the extraordinary event’s co-chairman for 15 years. “People have been tired of being cooped up and that was obvious every night.”
So much so, in fact, empty seats were far and few between under the 120-feet long and 90-feet wide “Big Top” where families and friends enjoyed everything from delicious doughboys to sausage and pepper sandwiches, macaroni and meatballs, cold beer and a variety of first-class entertainment as well as carnival ties and games.
Thus, the 2022 Feast and Festival will long be remembered for setting several records including its signature doughboys selling out on last Thursday’s opening night.
Likewise, as Montella said while issuing a heart-felt thank you to everyone who attended the feast and festival, by the time Sunday night rolled out there were only slim pickings of food left.
“Every night was better than the previous day,” Montella went on. “Although our Women’s Guild and chairwoman Arlene Troia didn’t beak a record, the Straw Draw Game sold almost 100,000 straws.”
Even Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, who has attended previous Feasts and Festivals and was accompanied by Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos and joined by Johnston native and Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins noted how impressed he was with the crowd.
Rev. Angelo N. Carusi, the popular pastor at St. Rocco’s Roman Catholic Church who served as the event’s grand greeter was ecstatic with the turnout and as Montella added, “the huge success we enjoyed this year.”
Some people. Like Johnston Fire Department Lt. and Local 1950 treasurer David Pingitore, offered: “The crowd is incredible. It’s like a gigantic family reunion.”
Meanwhile, Montella credited many people — including the Johnston Police Color Guard for their dedicated duty and again leading the annual post-feast mass procession with the success of this year’s event.
“We had former (St. Rocco School) students who are now in high school or college, confirmation classes, all sorts of adult volunteers who had fun and performed many different non-stop duties for four days,” Montella emphasized. “We are proud to have such a terrific tradition here at St. Rocco’s.”
A people and palate pleasing tradition featuring great food and excellent entertainment as countless attendees will attest and, as Montella related amid another huge thank you for such special support: “Building community, building family and having good, old-fashioned fun.”
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