100 Years of Feasting
By Ed Camara
As the opening day (July 31) draws closer, the members of the 2014 Feast of the Blessed Sacrament manage only a quick sandwich as they rush between tasks like smoothing out newly poured cement to power washing more than a dozen baraccas (stands) that will be serving food and drink for the 100 of the Feast. This is a very special year.
There are few fairs or festivals that can claim 100 years of welcoming guests from near and far to celebrate the culture, traditions, and history of anything. The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is often called “the Madeira Feast” because its roots are in the tiny mountain and shore side villages of the island of Madeira, the “Pearl of the Atlantic”.
Feast President, Larry Jacques, is the man in charge and almost everything to do with Feast 100 runs through him. “It’s a labor of love, and I do this because of my ancestry and my love for everything Madeiran.” he said on the phone in an interview with a Boston newspaper in the middle of watching some of the trucks arriving with the ‘dry goods’ . . . disposable plates, napkins, and cups.
2014 presents some special challenges. Wholesale prices for many items on the Feast’s shopping list (like 10,000 pounds of quality beef) need to be studied. The Feast has always tried to offer its food at reasonable prices and this year is no exception. In addition to the food orders, there is a mega list of entertainers to juggle over five stages, making sure that the event continues to provide continuous live and nonstop entertainment at no charge.
Normally, the Feast opens with a well known headliner act on the first night, but when you are celebrating 100 years . . . there are special considerations.
Headliner acts will be presented on ALL four nights of the feast. Thursday’s opening night features Gin Blossoms, followed by the legendary Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice on Friday. Saturday’s main stage will spotlight the popular Portuguese band Starlight from Toronto and country and western star, Phil Vassar closes the Feast on Sunday night!
For the first time, the Feast committee recognized the need to address those people who continued to say, “Oh, I don’t go to the Feast it’s too crowded and noisy.” Six more hours have been added to the schedule with the grounds, food and beverage stands, and special entertainment now scheduled for Friday afternoon from Noon to 6:00 pm. Feast Vice President, David Lucio smiled when he said, “On Friday afternoon, many feastgoers are still at work. Parking will be easier and all of our most popular foods will be fresh out of the ovens . . . only earlier! We hope this will attract a formerly set group of people who wanted to attend the Feast without the crowds.”
Not to be forgotten is the Feast’s special “Quiet Corner” in the Courtyard of the Museum of Madeiran Heritage, just half a block down the hill from the main Feast grounds.
European feel to the festival. It offers soft, quiet Portuguese music and live Fado entertainment every evening. Mara Pedro will be the featured fadista this year and visitors can enjoy a Madeiran wine, espresso or cappuccino with delicious and delicate pastries in a shaded and quiet courtyard. As in the past, the Museum will be open to visitors free of charge during the Feast. All are welcomed.
100th year of operation, the café gives a totally
FEAST 100 ADDS NEW HOURS
The 2014 Feast of the Blessed changes history by adding hours.
For those who have stayed away from the annual Feast saying, "Oh,
it's too crowded and noisy for me" . . . the Feast will now be open
on Friday afternoon from 12 Noon to 6 PM in additional to all other
hours. Feast committee members have dedicated even more time
to make sure all of the food and beverage outlets will be open and
serving the foods that make the Feast such a great success. With
Friday night feast goers still at work, parking will be easier, lines
will be short or none at all . . . and the live entertainment will reflect
a quieter atmosphere.
THE FREE and DISCOUNTED FEAST SPECIAL
Not only does the annual Feast remain free, something new has
been added- FREE food! Well, it's a free burger, hot dog, French
fries and a soda on Saturday, August 2 for kids under 12 from Noon
to 4:00 PM. A perfect weekend day for families to bring along the
little ones and not worry about having to pay high prices. Adults, of
course, will still pay the Feast's low prices for sandwiches of linguica
cacoila, carne d'espeto and full meals . . . but the Feast is still trying
to keep all prices as low as possible.
Want to have Grandparents or senior (62 and older) friends to
come along too? Well, the Feast has a 50% discount planned for them!
For the same hours (Noon to 4:00 PM) on Saturday, August 2- full
meals will be served in the Main Dining Pavilion for HALF PRICE! This
is a "dine-in price" only- sorry there are no "to go" doggie bags.