St. Joseph’s Day festival celebrates Italian culture, fundraiser for local charities
OCEAN CITY, Md. – “It’s like the traditional holiday celebration for a big Italian family,” Potenza said.
It’s a celebration of all things Italian. Saturday, the Sons & Daughters of Italy of Ocean City brought back its annual St. Joseph’s Day festival. “The festival honors St. Joseph, the father of Jesus and it’s on the day of his birthday,” Sons & Daughters of Italy Member Ed Pinto said.
“People were praying to him during a drought and the rains came and that sort of started the remembrance of the day.”
Attendees got the chance to shop with local vendors, browse through a silent auction, and enjoy some authentic Italian music.
The star of the show was the food which included a lineup of sausage, raviolis, and over 1700 meatballs. “They’re basically the same but then there are many variations. Some people put veal or some put pork in. Bull all have ground beef, garlic, onion amongst other things,” Festival Co-Chair Vito Potenza.
Outside of all the fun, the event is also the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. “We try to give away scholarships to students of Italian American heritage, give to charities and other local groups in the area,” Pinto said.
Those we spoke with say it’s an all hands on deck effort to make this event possible and in the process, it brings them closer together. “We have probably close to 100 volunteers here. We have a membership of almost 200 so we have well over 50% of the people involved,” Potenza said.
“We get together and become a close-knit family and group just because of this festival,” Pinto said.
We’re told funds raised will also support many men and women who travel from Italy to work in Ocean City and the surrounding resort areas during the summer.