Portuguese festival: Good food, great fun
Honoring the late Joe Nunes, the annual Feast of the Holy Ghost at the Portuguese American Club gets underway this Saturday evening at the P.A. Club on Vineyard Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Originated in 1942, this year marks its 66th anniversary.
Mr. Nunes was one of the founding members of the club - he helped dig the foundation - and was the oldest member until his death this past January.
On Saturday evening, attendees will be offered an array of Portuguese specialties: grill-your-own beef kebabs, fava beans, linguica, freshly-shucked quahogs, chicken, hot dogs, burgers, spicy pulled pork, and the hearty meat and vegetable sopa. For dessert, there will be homemade fried dough made from traditional Portuguese recipes.
The annual Feast honors Queen Isabella of Portugal. Every year, the club crowns a young girl from Our Lady Star of the Sea's first communion class. This year, Amber Medeiros will wear the crown during Sunday's parade from the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority, up Circuit Avenue, and up Vineyard Avenue to the club.
"Her family has been members of the club for years," says Tricia Bergeron, President of the club and Modron (head of the Feast). "Her grandmother worked in the Crown House for years and years." Before ending at the Club, the parade makes a stop at Catholic cemetery to pay tribute to members who have died.
"Robert Gatchell donates lighthouses every year," says Ms. Bergeron. "He makes them for people who have passed from the club in their memory and he donates them to us and we auction them off."
This year, he made them in honor of Charlie Marinelli, Peter Williamson, Orland Alwardt, Lois DeBettencourt, and Joe Nunes - a very special one for Joe Nunes.
As usual, there will be live music, this year by the Sting Ray Band on Saturday night for Feast revelers, beginning after 9 pm, and a dance performance by traditional Portuguese Folkloric dancers and music by the Bay State Band from New Bedford on Sunday. For children and the youthful, there is a gaming area with carnival-style games and prizes. Find goodies such as lobsters and sweet bread at the auction both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, with auctioneer David Araujo.
The event is made possible by the members and volunteers, from the children's game workers and the quahog-shuckers to auction-runners and clean-up crew.
The annual Feast of the Holy Ghost at the Portuguese American Club on Vineyard Avenue in Oak Bluffs takes place on Saturday, July 19, at 5:30 pm. The parade begins on Sunday, July 20, at 11:30 am.
Photos by Ralph Stewart