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The annual Italian American Festival in Ocean Township is scheduled for Aug. 10 to 14.
By WILLIAM CLARK
The Italian American Association of Ocean Township, which is is hosting its 46th annual Italian Festival this month, will welcome a new sponsor who will offer cooking demonstrations each evening.
The five day long celebration is scheduled for Aug. 10 to 14 in Joseph Palaia Park. The festival will open each night at 5 p.m.and end at 11 p.m.. Admission is free..
“We have a lot of nice entertainment every evening,” festival chairman Nick Romagnoli said.
Romagnoli said the festival’s newest sponsor Galbani Cheese will be doing cooking demonstrations each evening. The brand will be giving examples of how to use its mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheeses in a variety of meals with the help of Chef Marco Sciortino.
Attendees will also be treated to rides from Majestic Midways, carnival games and a Friday night fireworks display.
The Italian American Club will be selling festival staples like sausage sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, roast pork and zeppoles.
Those looking for variety in food choices should not be disappointed in the selection Romagnoli said, adding that the menu would not be limited to Italian selections. Guests can enjoy Greek, Latin and other international cuisines.
“There’s about 65 vendors,” Romagnoli said, inluding non-food booths as well.
The Oakhurst and Wanamassa Fire Departments will be selling beer and wine, respectively. Club member Anthony Verdoni will be presenting wine seminars.
50/50 raffles will be called each hour with the grand raffle being announced at 10 p.m. Sunday evening. All proceeds go to fund scholarships for students.
Romagnoli said the organization gave out $39,000 last year.
“We have some scholarships that go to Ocean Township High School students,” he said. “One scholarship goes to one high school student from any school in the county, some go to children and grandchildren of the association.”
In past years the festival has played host to 80,000 people over the duration of the week, Romagnoli said Monmouth County Tourism estimated. Organizers take two full days to set the festival up.
“The process starts on Monday and goes through the following Monday,” Romagnoli said.
Romagnoli has a simple hope to make this year successful.
“We’re hoping the hot spell we’ve been through will dissipate and give us some great weather,” he said.
Romagnoli encourages people to arrive at the free parking lot at 4:30 to avoid the rush.
After the festival, the Italian Club will focus on other charitable endeavors.
“We do a lot of different functions and give a lot of different donations to children related activities,” Romagnoli said.
Then, in November, planning for next year’s festival begins.