Festa Italiana Jersey City
Festa Italiana Jersey City

Holy Rosary Church in downtown Jersey City plans to cool down the August heat with a “five-day splash of summer fun,” according to the church, known as La Festa Italiana, now in its 119th year.

Begun in 1904 “as a way of saying thank you to its parishioners and neighbors” and run annually until interrupted by the pandemic, the event will feature an array of food vendors and of bands playing rock and Top-40 music. The epicenter of the event will be Sixth Street between Monmouth and Brunswick, near the church itself. Festivities will be held nightly from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, through Sunday, Aug. 14.

“After the pandemic, we were so happy to see La Festa come back to life,” said Holy Rosary’s pastor, the Very Rev. Pastor Jerzy “Jurek” R. Zaslona. “People came out in large numbers to enjoy the great food and music, and we are hoping to see more friends and families this year.”

The church resumed La Festa last year.

A Different Band Each Night

 La Festa will showcase a different band each night beginning with Springsteen tribute band B-Street Band.

“I always look forward to Holy Rosary’s La Festa,” Forte says. “We’re a six-piece Springsteen tribute band, and people like to watch us play. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We just want people to have a good time.”

Each night the music will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.; dancing is encouraged.

Other bands include The Counterfeiters (Thursday, Aug. 11); Toga Party Band (Friday, Aug. 12); The Cameos (Saturday, Aug. 13); and Total Soul (Sunday, Aug. 14).

A World of food — And Diversions For Kids

 Touted by event organizers as “a foodie’s paradise,” La Festa will feature plenty of food from area restaurants and food trucks (though not all Italian by any stretch). It would not be an authentic Italian festival without homemade dishes from the church’s parishioners.

Highlights of such include zeppole (made from “a secret recipe”), rice balls, and cakes, cannoli, and pies. Caffe Italiano, located behind the church, will host the game “money wheel.” A new vendor, Sand Art Creations will sell art-making opportunities for kids.

History

Founded in 1885, Holy Rosary Church is the first Italian Church in New Jersey. Throughout the festival, the church will hold numerous religious services and be open for viewing.

La Festa sponsors include Johnston Communications, Ziggy’s Auto Body, Murray Paving & Concrete, and many more. For more information on the fair, readers can call (201) 795-0120 or (201) 776-9222 or visit the event’s Facebook page.

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Elizabeth Morrill

Deputy Editor Elizabeth Morrill has worked in business, not for profit fundraising and as a freelance copy editor. She holds degrees in American studies and education from Yale and Harvard.