Bounty of food and tradition

Our Lady Queen of Peace prepares for annual festa

A volunteer at last year's festa puts the finishing touch on a pizza fritta with some powdered sugar.

A volunteer at last year's festa puts the finishing touch on a pizza fritta with some powdered sugar. Photo by John Purcell.

— Food might be what draws people to one annual festa, but a passion is what has kept the celebration churning out the baked goodies many crave.

Our Lady Queen of Peace Church held its annual festa from Friday, Aug. 12, to Sunday, Aug. 14. There was an abundance of its well-known Italian food and baked goods. The event also focuses on family fun, which includes a raffle, games and carnival rides. Each night there will be a main band performing, which is Grand Central on Friday and Sunday and Capri on Saturday, but there are also special performances throughout the day. Friday evening will also have fireworks, which is a feature started two years ago.

How much preparation goes into running the festa might surprise some, with planning for each year’s festa beginning in January. It starts out with monthly meetings and moves to weekly and then daily meetings as the festa nears the final week. The baked goods also yield the most profit and all funds raised go towards the church for things such as repairs.

“We have a Rosary Society here and in April they have a pantry shower for us and they have been doing it for the last six years,” said Shirley Milano, a volunteer behind the baked goods. “If it wasn’t for them we would be looking for money.”

One way to help cut down expenses is festa committee started to buy cooking supplies in bulk, said Milano, such as flour and sugar. There is also only one brand of flour used for bake goods too, said Milano, which is Gold Medal. She said there was a difference in quality of the baked goods when another brand was used side by side.

“A lot of these recipes go way back,” said Milano.

Some of the baked good include lemon drops, rosette cookies, ricotta cookies, anise cookies, lemon biscotti and almond biscotti with a chocolate drizzle. Also, one of the fastest sellers is the classic chocolate chip cookie, said Milano. This year approximately 6,658 cookies were made for the festa.

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