Annual Italian Fest Returns to St. George Church
Get ready to eat. The annual Italian Festival is back.
St. George’s Church men’s group brings their annual Italian Festival to St. George Church, 33 Whitfield Street, on Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27. This food-o-rama is guaranteed to delight anyone with tastebuds, with plenty of “home-mades,” sweet treats, games, fun, and music for the whole family.
Chair of the event James Mancini said the group hopes this year’s festival draws its usual quota of a thousand attendees a night and to also equal last year’s fundraising amount, but the food is always the main attraction.
“Pretty much everything here is homemade. All of the Italian food is homemade — the meatballs, the eggplant parm, fried dough, pasta fagioli, even the steak and cheese. We’ll also have sausage and peppers, hamburgers and hotdogs, and of course a sweet treat tent with gelato, cannoli, and Italian ice,” Mancini said. “You definitely got to get the Italian Platter, which has the eggplant parm, the lasagna, and the meatballs. So, you get a little bit of everything.”
The traditional meatball contest returns this year and participants better have their best recipe ready for. The event draws in some of the best cooks in the area to present their entries. There will be a commercial division and a home division, and winners get a $150 gift card. Participants must pre-register with Mancini by Monday, Aug. 22.
“We do the restaurant division,and what we call the ‘Home Cook” division. And this year we will have special judges, First Selectman Matt Hoey, State Rep. Sean Scanlon, and State Sen. Christine Cohen. We we’ll have them there on Saturday for the judging,” said Mancini.
There will also be a spaghetti eating contest on Friday evening. Participants need to register before the event, but the contest is set to see who can wolf down the most pasta in a two-minute span.
“So, we are really looking forward to that event and who is going to win,” Mancini said. “This is not an all-you-can-eat contest. This is how much you can eat in a short time span. It doesn’t cost to enter, and we give them a free pass to come in and they can win $150 bucks.”
The St. George Men’s Group has raised and donated more than $330,000 to numerous causes and organizations since its inception, and the festival’s intention is to raise funds for local charities and non-profits that reflect the values of community service.
“We do something every year. We decide on a vetted charity to support and rally around that. Sometimes it’s been fuel assistance, meals on Wheels. In past years we did one for Life Links and the Guilford D.A.Y. group,” said Mancini
The recipient of this year’s efforts will be APK charities based in Madison. APK was formed by the parents of Andrew Pederson-Keel, who lost his life serving in Afghanistan in 2013. His mother Helen and stepfather Bob Keiser formed APK and the companion Desert Eagle Thrift Store to help Gold Star families, veterans, and their families with an array of programs, including housing assistance, financial assistance, and counseling.
“This year is APK charities and they do such an incredible job of helping veterans. It’s a good cause and we obviously want to help out with a good cause. Our mission is to simply do good works and trying to bring the Gospels to life by helping those in need. Folks should know that this event is not to raise money for the Church, we do not raise money for the Church. All of this money that is raised, all goes back out into the community through a nonprofit,” Mancini said. “We really enjoy this and have a lot of fun. We get a lot of support and we get about 1,000 people a night, so we hope to see everyone there.”
There will be plenty of food and music for attendees, with a huge array of entrees and treats. There will also be beer and wine available, and a Kids Zone for children’s activities as well.
The Italian Festival will run on both Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27. Friday night’s hours are 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday is 3 to 10 p.m. Admission is $5.
For more information, visit stgeorgemensgroup.org or call 203-410-4682.