Four days of feasting

OLG Feast of La Madonna della DiFesa runs through Sunday in Johnston


Extraordinary expansion!

Those two words best describe preparations for The Feast of La Madonna della DiFesa that begins tonight and continues through Sunday at a famed Festival field on Sheridan Street adjacent to host Our Lady of Grace Church in Johnston.

Event-goers will find newly painted food booth buildings, done in white and accented with red and green Italian colors, that will serve a variety of delicious foods and golden doughboys that have been a signature treat during OLG’s always special Rite of September.

Likewise, there will be the annual grand raffle with $7,000 in prizes and drawn Sunday evening, Sept. 10.

The 2023 Italian feast and festival will also have four nights of excellent entertainment along with Rockwell Amusements' famous midway that provides fun for the entire family.

“This year’s feast is bound to be a success,” offered OLG Pastor Rev. Peter J. Gower. “The food buildings look great thanks to our dedicated parishioner Ron Davis, who spent many hours painting and making many improvements to their appearance and their function.”

Moreover, the huge Big Top, which is owned by Pranzi Catering, is larger and will allow for seating up to 600 people thanks to what Father Gower called “an extremely generous donation from our friends at Union Fence Company that sponsored the tent.”

“The Beer Garden will also be the biggest we’ve ever had,” said Don Parsons, who owns and operates Anytime Realty and has worked closely with Father Gower in readying for the Feast. “We’ll even have a Special Sinatra Sangria Night Friday and Saturday sponsored by Andino’s Restaurant of Federal Hill. There’s also been a rebranding/new website as well as our church apparel.”

As Father Gower emphasized with a wide smile on his face: “There will be more games and raffles and, of course, we’ll have a great selection of homemade Italian food each night. We are proud of the work that has been done and are anxious to welcome our new Bishop, The Most Rev. Richard G. Henning, who will celebrate the Feast Mass on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. followed by a procession through the streets with a statue of La Madonna della DiFesa.”

The Feast began last night with a mass and candlelight procession, but will be in full swing tonight from 5-9 p.m. Admission is free. Festival hours are Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The featured foods for each night will be Thursday, tripe and sofrito; Friday, fish and chips with linguini and quahogs; Saturday, steak sandwich, calamari, polenta and sausage and peppers; and Sunday, a lasagna dinner.

“Timeless” will provide Thursday night’s entertainment, with “Mike Dutra Simple Sinatra” taking the stage Friday. Saturday, it’s “Second to None” with the ever-popular “Ambrosiani” appearing on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.


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