Holy Ghost Feast promises to draw record attendance

Once again, the Great New England Holy Ghost Feast is expected to be the largest ethnic festival in the SouthCoast.
According to the organizing committee, more than 300,000 people are expected to flock to Kennedy Park during the four-day event. Joao Amaral, committee president, said he expects this year's festival to be even bigger than in previous years.
"We are having 21 philharmonic bands from the Azores, California, Canada, and of course all the local bands," Mr. Amaral said. "When each band brings along family members and relatives, anxious to see other family members and friends they have not seen in years, then you have a massive gathering of people like no other in this area."
As Mr. Amaral remembered previous feasts, where hundreds of thousands of people have come to embrace friends not seen in years, he smiled, blinked a few times and said: "Only those who have lived through it know the true meaning of the feast. When you hear a familiar voice or recognize a face in a crowd of thousands, you feel your heart pounding and your throat tightening. When two friends or relatives embrace, unable to hold back all the tears suppressed along the years, you realize how important the Holy Ghost Feast is to our people."
"The Great Holy Ghost Feast of New England has expanded beyond a tradition to become a reference point in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people," Mr. Amaral said.
This year's feast will open at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, with a night of music dedicated to the younger crowds. On the following day at 6 p.m., the blessing of food portions will take place, to be distributed among the needy and some convalescent homes. Bishop Antonio Monteiro of Viseu, Portugal will preside over the ceremonies.
Band concerts will follow with Sociedade Filarmonica Nossa Senhora dos Remedios, of Flores, and Filarmonica Nova Artista Flameguense, of Faial, Azores. Also performing will be Harmonia Mosteirense of Mosteiros, and Senhora das Vitorias, of Santa Barbara, Sao Miguel, Azores, as well as folkloric groups.
On Saturday, the Bodo de Leite Parade will start at Ponta Delgada Boulevard, formerly Water Street, at 12 p.m. going east on Columbia Street, and turning south on South Main Street to Kennedy Park. The distribution of free milk and sweet bread will follow the parade's arrival. Dr. Alzira Serpa Silva, the Regional Azorean Communities director, will be the parade's honored guest.
Starting at 4:30 p.m., several folkloric groups from the area, as well as from the Azores and Canada, will showcase their colorful interpretations of old favorite Azorean folk songs and dances. Following the groups, at 6:30 p.m., Filarmonica Portuguesa band of Toronto and Banda Sr. Da Pedra of New Bedford will play in concert. Between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. there will be The Evy Show, a popular music concert. Filarmonica Divino Espirito Santo of Laval, Quebec, Canada and Banda Acoreana of Fall River will play at 11 p.m., closing time.
On Sunday there will be a solemn Mass at St. Anne's Church, presided over by Bishops D. Antonio Monteiro, Viseu; Sean P. O'Malley, Fall River; and Robert Mulvee, Providence. The Grupo Coral do Livramento from Sao Miguel will sing during Mass.
The coronation procession will leave the church at 2 p.m. traveling north on South Main Street, west on Columbia Street, south on Broadway and east on Middle Street, ending at the east side of Kennedy Park.
The procession will include 21 bands, and dozens of Holy Ghost brotherhoods will arrive from all over New England, New Jersey and California, as well as from Quebec and Ontario, Canada; Bermuda; and the Azores. The procession's honored guests will include Dr. Antonio Costa, Portugal's minister of parliamentary issues; Dr. Augusto Cabral, professor at Angra Seminary, Angra, Azores; Comendador Horacio da Silva Roque, president of Banco Internacional do Funchal e Comercial dos Acores; Dr. Jose Contente, Azorean regional secretary of housing; Dr. Alzira Serpa Silva; and Antonio Andrade, local business owner, as representative of the local community.
Following the procession and until 10 p.m., there will be performances by local singers and more band concerts.
During the four days of festivities, there will be bazaars and auctions along with plenty of refreshments to wash down the usual delicacies, which include favas, chourico and cacoula sandwiches, and of course, malassadas.


Pedro Amaral can be reach at 123 Ames St., Fall River, MA 02721, or at Lusolife@Apol.net.


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