Rhode Island's
Feasts & Festivals!

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Feasts

Barrington Our Lady of Assumption August 401/245-7743 Holy Angels
Bristol Our Lady of Mt. Carmel July 401/253-9449 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Cranston Our Lady of Civita' July 401/942-1492 St. Mary
Cumberland Our Lady of Fatima Sept. 401/723-6719 Our Lady of Fatima
E. Providence Brightridge Club (call) 401/434-9787 59 Brightridge Ave
E. Providence H.G.B.B. (call) 401/434-3224 51 N. Phillips St.
E. Providence Trinity Club (call) 401/434-9833 46 Sutton Ave.
Johnston Our Lady of Difesa Sept. 401/231-2220 Our Lady of Grace
Johnston Our Lady of Prada Sept. 401/942-5203 St. Rocco
Johnston St. Rocco August 401/942-5203 St. Rocco
Newport Festa Italiana Oct. 401/683-4829  
Providence St. Anthony May 401/944-6556  
Providence St. Bartholomew August 401/944-4466 St. Bartholomew
Providence St. Joseph  March 401/274-5225 Holy Cross
Providence St. Joseph May 401/421-9137 Holy Ghost
Smithfield Feast of the Holy Ghost August 401/431-0360 Portuguese-American Club
Westerly Our Lady of Mt. Carmel July 401/596-2130 Immaculate Conception
West Warwick St. Anthony's Feast June 401/ 821-8342  
West Warwick Feast of the Holy Ghost Labor Day    

Special Contribution by:
J. Ricci

(Click on photos for a larger view.)

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(Click on photos for a larger view.)

Joseph and Rose Agnoli, in 1949.>

 

 

 

 

Carol and Louie Agnoli have carried on the family tradition.>

 

 

 

 

The Agnoli family, from left, Michael, dad Louie, mom Carol, Jenna, Joseph and daugter.>

 

 

 

 

Friends and family gathered at the Agnoli house (and pool).>

"St Mary is our family's patron saint. A million years ago, when my dad's family settled in Knightsville, long before there was a St Mary's Church, the statue of Madonna della Civita was housed in my grandparents living room. Day and night, people from the community would come to their home to worship her. This lasted a few years until a chapel was build across the street from the house.Click here for a larger view.
Every year on St Mary's Day (technically July 21st), there is a procession that starts at St Mary's Church on Cranston Street. This is where The Madonna della Civita now lives. It winds it's way through the village and goes to the Chapel (which is now someone's house, so doesn't go inside any longer). Then back to the church. This is a big, big, big deal feast as many people are still from the hamlet of Itri, Italy where the miracle of the Madonna supposedly occurred. On the feast day, the neighborhood was filled with family and friends as if it were Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter and overflowed backyards or basements if the weather were inclement. There are big function tents in most yards today.
Click here for a larger view. Years ago, when I was very young (long, long time ago), I remember that my father and uncles use to close their business every July 21st (they considered it a holiday), regardless of the day it fell on. Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, etc... it didn't matter if it was the busiest work day of the week, the store was closed every July 21st. Now it is celebrated on whatever Sunday is closest to the 21st. Just not the same.
Our family home has long been sold to a non family member and we no longer gather there. I do have a cousin who still invites all who cares to go for the day. We don't, but we do try to get down to the feast site for our annual doughboy and sausage and pepper sandwich fix. The spectacular fireworks display signaling the end of the feast.  It had often been said that St. Mary's always had the best!"

....J. Ricci

From Italy to Knightsville: A family tradition turns 65
Agnoli family celebrates St. Mary's Feast that crosses generations and continents

By Tracee M. Herbaugh
Providence Journal Staff Writer Posted Jul. 14, 2015 @ 11:15 pm

CRANSTON, R.I. — On Sunday, at a red brick cape-style house in the Knightsville neighborhood, the Agnoli family will celebrate its 65th St. Mary's Feast under the same roof.
Click here for a larger view. Their Kingswood Avenue home has seen four generations of Agnolis who participated in the celebration.
The house belonged to Louie Agnolis' parents. Then, Carol and Louie Agnoli, who have been married for 38 years and have been together since they were high school sweethearts, raised their children there. Now, the couple hosts their three sons, daughter-in-law, granddaughter and some 100 other friends and extended family for the celebration they call "Christmas in July."

"I'd come over to this house for St. Mary's when I was a kid — 16 or so," Carol said, adding she moved in when she and Louie got married in 1977.
"Now we have our children and our granddaughter over for St. Mary's," she said. "You never know how many people will show up because we don't hand out invitations. We tell our friends and family who tell their friends and family. And everybody just shows up."
Click here for a larger view. The Festa di Maria Della Civita, or St. Mary's Feast, originated in the Italian village of Itri. Many residents in Knightsville have ties to the Italian village, including Louie's grandfather who emigrated from Italy. It opens Wednesday and will continue through Sunday. The event draws thousands of people to the neighborhood for the evening carnivals, parties and the feast on Sunday. This week Knightsville will be filled with red, green and white flags.
On Sunday, a procession will begin from St. Mary Church, as a statue of the Madonna will be hoisted on shoulders and carried around town. After the procession, people will celebrate with backyard parties and watching fireworks.
When explaining the importance of the St. Mary's Feast, Louie recalls a story about his father, Joseph Agnoli.
In 1971, Joseph was ill with an advanced stage of cancer. His friend Red Notarianni, who sat with Joseph on the feast's planning committee, marched a band over to the Kingswood Avenue home. Joseph was too sick Click here for a larger view. to leave the house, but he managed to muster enough energy to walk to the picture window and listen to Red and the band play two songs.
"I looked at my father afterwards, and he had tears in his eyes," Louie said. "I went outside to shake Red's hand, and he had tears in his eyes, too."
The Agnolis start preparing for the party almost a month ahead of time. Carol begins by making a list and delegating who will bring specific foods and beverages. In the weeks ahead of the feast, their house is filled with paper goods, such as plates, cups, napkins and other picnic necessities.
"I really have this down to a science because I've been doing it for so long," Carol said.
She outsources as much of the prep work as possible. A rental company brings tables and chairs, and they're set up and broken down at the end of the night. A catering company is called for hamburgers. Family members and friends are called upon to bring potato salad, Italian desserts, baked beans and hot dogs — enough for more than 100 people.
Click here for a larger view. The only task that is left is making more than 200 meatballs, something Carol starts on Friday night.
"It's really a matter of piecing everything together," Carol said.
Beyond the food, fireworks and revelry, St. Mary's Feast is about spending time with family.
"It’s all about family and friends and tradition," said Steve Agnoli, Carol and Louie's son who is now a member of the feast's planning committee.
"I'm sure my grandparents would be proud that we've kept the tradition going," Steve said. "They always taught us that family is very important."

Festivals
(Click on each link.)

Bristol Civic, Military & Fireman's Parade Jul 4

Charlestown Chamber Seafood Festival

Colonial Theatre Shakespeare Festival

Festival del Sancocho, Providence

FirstWorksKids - An International Performance Festival

Gaspee Days - First Thursday in May

Great International Beer Competition & Festival, Providence

The JVC Jazz Festival, Newport

Narragansett Art Festival, Narragansett

Annual Great Chowder Cook-Off

Newport International Film Festival, Newport

Newport Folk Festival, Newport

Newport Jazz Festival, Newport

Newport Music Festival, Newport

Newport Vintage Dance Week, Newport 

Newport Waterfront Irish Festival, Newport

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish Festival, Woonsocket

Pawtuxet Valley Parade of Lights, Pawtuxet

Rhode Island International Film Festival

Rhode Island Scottish Highland Festival

Rhythm & Roots, Labor Day weekend, Charlestown

Scituate Art Festival

Sunset Music Festival, Newport

Taste of Rhode Island, Newport

WaterFire events

West Warwick Parade of Lights, West Warwick

Wickford Art Festival

WoodenBoat Show, Newport

Woonsocket Autumnfest

Special Contribution by:
C. Mathewson

"Aside from churches there are local organizations that have religious feasts as well. In Smithfield the Portuguese-American Club has The Feast of the Holy Ghost. It is usually held in August, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. I'm not sure of the date but you can add it to your list.
Seeing your lists of feasts made me think of my next door neighbor. His Father belonged to the Knights of Columbus, which leads to this childhood memory. One afternoon my friends and I were sitting around a picnic table in their back yard, the younger Brother of one of the kids wouldn't leave us alone. We finally shooed him away, and we mistakenly thought that was the end of the problem. Suddenly.....There was a loud. "WHACK!!!!!"The little Brother came back ,wearing his Father's K. of C. plumed hat, cape and most importantly a rather large K. of C. ceremonial sword. With which he brought down in the middle of the table that we were sitting around. Every one jumped up and headed for the safety of a nearby apple tree. Being the short fat kid, the only way I was going to get into that tree would be if the tree bent over and picked me up itself!!!!!That left me to circle my neighbor's house, with this pissed-off, pint -sized Zorro in hot pursuit!!! I made it to my house in one piece. He went home satisfied that he showed us big kids that he wasn't going to be chased away. If his
Father had come home and caught him there would have been Hell to pay! I can only imagine his Father's confusion as to where the grass stains and dirt had gotten on the inside of his cape. Being a little kid, 3/4's of the cape was dragging on the ground as he chased us around. This was something right out of a Little Rascals movie. You can't make this stuff up."

....C. Mathewson

 

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