Coaster File Photo
Fireworks, rides, entertainment and zeppoles at annual Italian American Festival in Ocean Township.
Now celebrating 47 years, the Italian American Association of the Township of Ocean will host its Italian Festival from Wed., Aug. 9 through Sun., Aug. 13 at Joe Palaia Park Fairgrounds located at the corner of Whalepond Road and Deal Road in beautiful Ocean Township.
With free parking and free admission, the festival offers something for everyone, organizers said. Including games, rides, raffles, food and entertainment,
Festival gates open each day 4:30 p.m. until closing at 11 p.m. There are five hourly 50/50 drawings each night with a grand 50/50 drawn on the closing night.
Festival Chairman Nick Romagnoli said, “This year’s festival promises to be the best ever, with food vendors selling all types of traditional Italian specialties from sausage and peppers to pastries, zeppole meatballs, pizza, roast pork, calzone, ravioli and to please the ever-changing multitude of our loyal fans there will be plenty of American, Greek and Latino offerings and desserts. There will be raffles, games of chance, games of skill, plus carnival rides to thrill visitors of all ages.”
Galbani Cheese Co., one of the many sponsors, will be hosting food cooking demos every night featuring Celebrity Chef Bill Manzo along with other local chefs and a surprise TV food personality on one night. There will be a Galbani’s Children’s Cheese Stacking Contest at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday night for children under 10 years.
On Fri., Aug. 18 there will be fireworks show sponsored by Bubbakoo’s Burritos scheduled for 9:15 p.m.
Each evening features live music and entertainment in the park’s band shell. Opening night is also discounted ride night. Other events during the festival include hot dog, pizza and pasta eating contests, as well as performances by youth gymnastic and dance groups.
The Italian American Association of the Township of Ocean provides educational scholarships to qualified graduating high school seniors and gives monetary donations to community-wide youth-based organizations. This past June IAATO presented 20 scholarships totaling $60,000 and last year donated $40.000 to other such organizations.
For more information visitwww.IAATO.com/festival.