Perhaps the title of tonight’s entertainers — “Second 2 None” — best describes the 102nd Annual Our Lady of Grace Italian Feast and Festival that will be held through Sunday night when tickets for the Grand Raffle worth $7,000 in prize money will be drawn at Festival Field in Johnston.
The four-day family fun and food fest — which began with Saturday’s Steak and Cigar Dinner — will be another example of the super special socials that Rev. Peter J. Gower has initiated during his tenure at the Roman Catholic Church at 15 George Waterman Road.
“This is what I have been saying at all masses and all around the community and did they listen,” Father Gower noted. “Over 160 people were present under the Big top and what an evening it was.”
An evening extraordinaire features 2-pound charcoal grilled steaks, broccoli, two kinds of potatoes, corn on the cob, bread and butter, with strawberry shortcake prepared especially for dessert by Steph Harris’ Strings Bar & Grill.
Likewise, there was a multi-prize raffle featuring 36 door prizes, 26 raffle baskets and $320 that went to the lucky winner of the 50/50 drawing.
“It was the great volunteers of our parish as well as the help of Maryann and Marvin from the Bridge at Cherry Hill, Cherry Hill Manor and Lorraine (from) RI Beef and Veal that provided the largest steaks I have ever seen, J&T Restaurant, Chicken Coop, Strings Bar & Grill, Bread Boss and Anchor Bay at Pocasset with the help of Jen that made the event a special success,” according to organizers.
Father Gower said the “great event now leads us into the Grand Feast of Madonna della Difesa that will run through Sunday night.”
Last night’s Mass — which was followed by the annual candlelight procession and Rosary — kicked off the 2022 feast that will have a marvelous menu ranging from tonight’s tripe & sofrito to tomorrow’s fish & chips and linguini with quahogs, to Saturday’s list of steak sandwich, calamari, polenta and sausage and peppers. Sunday’s featured food will be OLG’s famous lasagna.
In keeping with tradition, the menu will also include plates of macaroni and meatballs, chowder and clam cakes, veal and mushrooms, a variety of sandwiches as well as delicious desserts like apple crisp, ice cream, cookies, cakes and pastry.
Harold Fera’s Rockwell Amusements set up the many carnival rides and games of chance tents. Admission is free, and the feast and festival will go on rain or shine with free admission. The feast begins tonight at 5 o’clock and runs until 9 pm. Tomorrow and Saturday hours are from 5 to 11 p.m. and Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday will be a full day of activity beginning with the 10:30 a.m. mass in honor of La Madonna della Difesa, with Father Gower as the concelebrant and Rev. Msgr. Carlo F. Montecalvo as the main celebrant and homilist. The annual procession with the statute of the Madonna will follow and continue through the streets of Johnston.