The Cedar Grove chapter of Unico is holding their Third annual La Festa Italiana, in the center of Cedar Grove, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 27, 28 and 29.
It’s an event for everyone in the family, with traditional food, carnival rides, and live entertainment. The festivities get underway on Friday evening at 6:00 and continue until 10. Saturday’s activities last from 3:00 to 10. Musical acts feature The Cameos (oldies, doo-wop and 50s classics) on Saturday, while on Sunday, Eddie Pirrera (Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin songbook) entertains between 4:00 and 8.
The big attraction? “Food, Italian food galore!” according to Unico president Sal Ingallina. “Zeppoli, sausage and pepper sandwiches, Italian hot dogs, a raw bar with clams, pizza, mussels and other seafood treats, rice balls, Italian pastries and cookies, espresso, Italian sodas, ice cream and many other novelties.” Vendors include PJ Rufo’s, Esposito’s, and several independent chefs and caterers.
Proceeds benefit Unico’s local and national charities and scholarships. Last year, Unico raised about $12,000 for local scholarships, and for the Deborah Foundation, The V Foundation for Cancer Research, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and to local first responders, including the Cedar Grove Rescue Squad and Fire Department.
The Festa takes place (rain or shine) in the parking lot of the L.R. Parks/Board of Education building on Route 23 South near the corner of Bowden Road; ample free parking is available in the municipal lot across the street, on side streets, and in the lots of certain adjacent businesses (where posted). Entrance is free, with pay-as-you-go ticket booths for rides, games of chance, and food.
Festa chair Pat DeFrancisci, a lifelong Cedar Grove resident finds Unico “A really good organization, and a way to give back to the community.” Unico is an acronym for unity, neighborliness, integrity, charity, and opportunity to serve; the chapter has been active in Cedar Grove since 1986. While membership is almost entirely comprised of Americans of Italian ancestry, or their family members, the group’s “activities are directed toward the betterment of our entire community.”
A 50-50 raffle will be held on Sunday night, but tickets can be purchased in advance, off-site, by contacing DeFrancisci: 973-897-3258 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s more information at the event’s Facebook page.