Ocean City Today
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Eighth annual St. Joseph’s Festival in OC, Saturday

By Kara Hallissey | Mar 22, 2018
The Sons and Daughters of Italy of Ocean City Lodge #2474 host the eighth 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.

(March 23, 2018) The Sons and Daughters of Italy of Ocean City Lodge #2474 invite residents and visitors to the eighth 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.

“It celebrates St. Joseph, the patron saint of Sicily and the universal church,” said Al DiOrio, the festival’s publicity chair. “It adds much needed [funds] to local charities and scholarships and it brings people in our community together for a day of fun, good food and uplifting music.”

Admission is free with the highlight being the Italian specialties available for purchase including meatball and Italian sausage subs, minestrone soup as well as ravioli and meatballs.

“People usually come for lunch or dinner,” DiOrio said. “Once again we are offering ravioli with homemade meatballs or sausage. Homemade minestrone has been a hit every year and sells out quickly.”

There will also be a number of homemade desserts available such as cannolis, St. Joseph’s Day cake, fried dough and gelato. Drinks include beer, wine, coffee and sodas.

“Some members prepare desserts from old family recipes,” DiOrio said. “A big hit last year was fried dough, an Italian tradition, as well as gelato. Zeppole, a cream-filled pastry, is a traditional St. Joseph’s feast delicacy.”

The Mario Monaldi Band, of Baltimore, will play traditional Italian favorites in addition to classics from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

There will be complimentary face painting and crafts for children.

T-shirts, hats, homemade pasta, rosaries and St. Joseph statues are a few of the Italian and religious items for sale at the event.

“Community merchants and some of the members of the Sons and Daughters of OC Lodge #2474 have donated all of our prizes included in our basket raffles and silent auction,” DiOrio said. “By attending, people are supporting the many charities that the proceeds benefit.”

Since the festival’s inception, Lodge #2474 has donated more than $16,000 to local and national charities in addition to awarding $25,000 in scholarships to local high school students of Italian descent from Indian River and Sussex Central in Delaware as well as Stephen Decatur high schools.

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.

“Most importantly, the money raised by the festival goes to local and national charities, high school scholarships and charity programs,” DiOrio said. “The OC Sons and Daughters of Italy spend days to put together an event that benefits the community and creates many smiles on the faces of those attending the event.”

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 almost a decade ago and it takes dozens of members to pull off, DiOrio said.

“During the Middle Ages, there was a great famine in Sicily,” DiOrio said. “People prayed to St. Joseph to end the famine. It did and they honored him with a feast day and he became the patron saint of Sicily as well.”

For more information, visit www.sonsofitalyoceancity.com.

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