(March 29, 2019) The Sons and Daughters of Italy of Ocean City Lodge #2474 invite residents and visitors to the ninth annual St. Joseph’s Festival, inside St. Andrew’s Hall on Sinepuxent Avenue at 144th Street, this Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We want to honor St. Joseph, the patron of workers, which we do every year,” said Al DiOrio, the festival’s publicity chair.
Admission is free with the highlight being the Italian specialties available for purchase including raviolis, meatballs, sausage, subs, salads, minestrone soup, zeppole, cannoli, gelato and fried dough.
There will also be a number of homemade desserts provided by members of the lodge available for purchase. Drinks include beer, wine, coffee and sodas.
“Us Italians, we like to have a good time,” DiOrio said. “We like to eat, listen to music, talk to people and all that together ... we get people of Italian descent to come for the first time.
“The food, music, camaraderie ... everybody that goes away that I talk to say, ‘You guys are really fun to be with,’” DeOrio added.
The Mario Monaldi Band of Baltimore will return this year to play traditional Italian favorites as well as a variety of other genres and music.
“The whole day is pretty active,” DiOrio said. “People love to sit and listen to the music and eat and enjoy camaraderie with family and friends.”
There will be complimentary face painting and crafts for children.
Clothing, wine, homemade pasta, rosaries and St. Joseph statues are a few of the items for sale at the event.
A silent auction and chances to win raffle items will also take place during the feast. Items were donated by several local organizations.
Since the festival’s inception, Lodge #2474 has donated over $16,000 to local and national charities in addition to awarding $25,000 in scholarships to area high school students of Italian descent from Indian River and Sussex Central in Delaware as well as Stephen Decatur in Berlin. Last year, $1,500 in scholarships were provide to each school.
“Giving back to the community is a big deal [for] us,” DiOrio said. “We take pride in providing funds for different organizations. We have fun, but the bottom line is it helps people.”
Money has also been donated to help fund Alzheimer’s research, to Atlantic General Hospital, the Worcester County Humane Society, Diakonia, Worcester G.O.L.D, Justin’s Beach House, Relay for Life, Ocean City Parks and Recreation, St. Luke’s Catholic Church, the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, Star Charities, the Home of the Brave and Ocean Pines Armed Forces Day Memorial.
In honor of March 19 being the Feast Day of St. Joseph, Italian families throughout the United States celebrate annually because he is the patron saint of workers and the universal church.
Former Sons and Daughters of Italy of Ocean City Lodge #2474 president Sal Castorina created the St. Joseph’s Festival nearly 10 years ago and it takes dozens of volunteers and three months of preparation to pull off, DiOrio said.
For more information, visit www.sonsofitalyoceancity.com