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La Festa Italiana in Jersey City

Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City, New Jersey is a beehive of activity as it prepares to celebrate the 116th Annual La Italiana. This historic festival, where everyone is family, is a street festival like no other, held over five nights on 6th and Brunswick Streets in historic Downtown Jersey City.

Beginning on Wednesday, August 14th and running through Sunday, August 18th, each evening from 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm, the neighborhood surrounding Holy Rosary Church will come alive with a fun-filled block party of fabulous food, popular bands, plus rides and games that will give kids happy memories to last a lifetime.

“Traditions and customs define us as a community,” said the Very Rev. Pastor Jerzy “Jurek” R. Zaslona of Holy Rosary Church, “La Festa gives us the opportunity to become a more integrated community. When people come to La Festa, they come for the music and the food, but they also come for the fellowship, to see friends, and create happy memories for their children. We are here to serve the people of Jersey City.”

The entertainment roster for this year’s festival is guaranteed to inspire dancing in the streets. On Wednesday’s opening night, The B Street Band will bring their hugely popular show to the stage, performing covers to Bruce Springsteen’s hit. The Cameos will take the audience on a musical journey back to the days of Doo-Wop on Thursday, while Friday features the First Kiss Orchestra. Saturday night brings Sunset Soundz to the festival for the second year in a row, with Big Band songs from the 1940s, as well as Top 40 hits. Closing night, brings the exciting Total Soul for its eighth consecutive appearance at La Festa Italiana. The 10-piece band gets the audience moving with their classic renditions featuring hot horns and tight rhythms. Additionally, there will be a DJ playing tunes at the corner of 6th and Brunswick Streets every night of the festival and DJ Carly, who will performs at the festival’s Caffe Italiano on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

La Festa Italiana will be a food lover’s paradise with everyone’s favorites – from sausages to garlic knot chicken, eggplant parmigiano to Italian ice, with craft beers and specialty cocktails to enjoy. A highlight at La Festa Italiana will be Fr. Jurek’s ‘Authentic Polish Table’, where Holy Rosary’s pastor will don an apron and serve Polish specialties like kielbasa and pierogi. Lydia & Pat’s Fresh Seafood Bar returns and gourmet gelati lovers will be thrilled that Gia’s Gelato will be back, as will Al & Marianne’s Pure & Simple Flatbreads with their artisanal brick-oven pizzas.

As La Festa’s Opening Day draws near, Holy Rosary parishioners are busily preparing Italian specialties that attract festival-goers, year-after-year. Treats like zeppoles and rice balls are always crowd pleasers. “A Taste of Campobasso” will feature wine and peaches, plus home-brewed Limoncello made by The Assunta Wine Girls, who will also be serving fine Italian wines. At Caffe Italiano, Holy Rosary’s Church Ladies will sell freshly-made cookies, cakes, cannoli, pies, coffee and tea. Hourly and Super 50/50 raffle tickets will be on sale throughout the five-day festival and the popular Money Wheel will once again be in the backyard opposite Caffe Italiano.

On August 12-15, Holy Rosary Church will hold the Assumption & St. Rocco Triduum. On Thursday, August 15th at 11:00 am, the Feast Day Mass in veneration of Maria SS. Dell’Assunta will be celebrated. Fr. Jurek, who serves as Dean of the Deanery, along with clergy of the Deanery, will offer Mass. The San Rocco Feast Day Mass will be offered on Friday, August 16th at 11:00 am. A special Sunday Mass Venerating Maria SS. Dell’Assunta & San Rocco will be held on August 18th at 11:00 am followed by the traditional Street Procession where statues of Maria SS. Dell’Assunta and San Rocco will be carried through the streets of Holy Rosary’s neighborhood as a blessing to the Downtown Jersey City community.

Founded in 1885, Holy Rosary Church is the first Italian Roman Catholic Parish in New Jersey; and La Festa Italiana is Holy Rosary’s special way of saying thank you to its parishioners and neighbors. This year, the Church celebrates 134 years of serving the spiritual needs of its parish and the Historic Downtown Jersey City community. Visitors are invited to donate a 7-day Memorial Candle in memory of a loved one.

For more information, please call (201) 795-0120, or (201) 776-9222. To see more, visit their website at www.lafestaitalianajc.com.