Lucille Johnson’s grandfather and uncle assisted make the Church of St. Rocco in Glen Cove in 1937. The meatballs served at the Catholic church’s once-a-year Feast of St. Rocco, which concludes Sunday, are based on loved ones members’ meatball recipes that have been handed down for generations.
And Johnson, 86, of Glen Cove, has been volunteering at the feast for a long time, assisting put together the do-it-yourself Italian specialties that hundreds of Extensive Islanders and other folks line up for each individual yr.
“We did 140 trays of eggplant and we did it in one working day,” Johnson mentioned of the eggplant Parmesan and eggplant rollatini. “We all know what we’re undertaking. We have been performing it for several years.”
Johnson is one particular of the far more than 200 volunteers who personnel the party just about every working day, explained Maria Greco, 46, of Glen Cove, who can help oversee functions in the “pasta pavilion,” in a church hall.
“Without all the volunteers and all the gals cooking, we could never continue,” Greco stated.
“These positions have been handed down from generation to generation,” said Reggie Spinello, 1 of the event’s coordinators and a previous Glen Cove mayor. “It’s truly one of the most lovely traditions of the feast.”
The 46th yearly event, which started Wednesday, also consists of carnival rides, game titles and, in the streets in the vicinity of the church, stands with decidedly un-Italian foodstuff like deep-fried Oreos, together with Italian specialties like freshly-cut peaches in pink and white wine.
Foods preparing began more than three months ago, mentioned Johnson, whose family roots, like those of lots of Glen Cove residents of Italian ancestry, are in Sturno, Italy, east of Naples. Only 20 women of all ages and males put together and prepare dinner the thousands of pounds of food items, functioning as if in an assembly line.
Some dishes are ready fully on the exact day.
“We experienced 700 pounds of tripe and we ran out” on Friday, Johnson claimed. “So we produced it this morning.”
The tripe in purple sauce with vegetables is a longtime favored of some.
Arturo Gomes, the head cook and previous owner of an Italian-French restaurant in Glen Cove, sent another person to Brooklyn early Saturday early morning to obtain the tripe.
Some of the dishes are on the menu every working day, Gomes said. Eggplant Parmesan is generally the most popular dish, he reported. Lasagna, baked clams, rice balls and pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage are other expectations. There also are day-to-day, freshly cooked specials, this sort of as Saturday’s shrimp oreganata and limited ribs and pasta.
Josephine Capobianco, 85, who emigrated from Sturno in 1959, has been volunteering for 30 decades.
“I enjoy it for the reason that I adore my church,” she said. “It’s the only way to keep the church likely. We constructed it and we do not want to permit it go.”
Proceeds from the feast fund church operations.
St. Rocco’s even now has a Sunday Mass in Italian, and even while Capobianco now speaks fluent English, she attends it every single 7 days.
“It’s your roots,” she mentioned.
On Sunday, the feast operates from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the parish grounds at 18 3rd St. and on surrounding streets. A classic procession, with a statue of St. Rocco carried by way of the community in the vicinity of the church, commences immediately immediately after the 10:30 a.m. Mass, Spinello said. It normally lasts until eventually about 2 p.m., halting at the households of men and women who are sick, he claimed.
St. Rocco is a French saint who died in the 14th century and is thought of a protector against epidemics and a number of health conditions.