NORWICH – Parishioners at St. Batholomew’s Catholic Church in the City of Norwich have a longstanding tradition to pay tribute to the Italian Catholic community and emphasize the church which has become a staple in the city.
This Friday and Saturday, St. Bart’s will continue that tradition with another round of its annual Italian Feast Day celebration. For more than 80 years, St. Bart’s Feast Day has drawn hundreds of area residents to celebrate the Italian Catholic heritage through food, games, and entertainment.
“This is what we do to remind everybody where we came from and how we started out,” said St. Bart’s parishioner Theresa Biviano.
Feast Day kicks off Friday at the church located at 81 E. Main Street in Norwich, behind the Monsignor Festa Parish Center. The three-day gala, which started as a construction fundraiser to build the church in 1927, features an array of music, games, raffles, and – of course – old-fashioned Italian cuisine.
On the menu this year: homemade sausage and peppers, meatball subs, eggplant parmesan, pasta fagiole, gigi, fried ravioli, peaches and wine, Italian cookies, hot dogs and hamburgers, and a number of other Italian dishes and pastries.
“So many people come just for the food,” said longtime parishioner JoAnn Testani. “But the main reason we do this every year is to honor our Patron Saint, St. Bartholomew.”
The St. Bart’s Feast Day celebration starts Friday evening with a youth dance and Italian cuisine for sale. The youth dance, new this year to Feast Day activities, is for kids ages 10-14. Testani said the dance is to give kids something fun to do and ease into a tradition that’s been passed down for generations...