Arts & Entertainment

Countdown to the UNICO Feast, Clark’s Family-Fun-Packed Columbus Day Weekend Event

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Renato Biribin, a familiar face at the St. Bart's Festival in Scotch Plains, is a force behind Clark's UNICO Festival on Columbus Day Weekend.
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CLARK, NJ – The lights, the sights, the sounds and the smells: Clark UNICO is counting down the days until the 10th annual Italian-American Feast begins on Friday, Oct. 7.  The three-day festival and carnival features rides, games, food, music and family fun for all.

“We are very excited to hold the 10th Annual UNICO Italian American Feast,” Clark UNICO president Ralph Bernardo said. “It’s hard to believe 10 years has passed already. It has become a town tradition and everyone looks forward to it – that’s the driving force to do it year after year.”

Bernardo and his fellow Unicans have spent months preparing for the feast. UNICO is the largest Italian-American service organization and its Clark unit is deeply rooted in the local community.

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“No one can imagine the time, effort, and work involved in putting it (the feast) together,” Bernardo said. “It’s important for each generation to understand their roots and they should be proud of their Italian heritage as we are. However, being an American is first and foremost.”

The feast kicks-off Friday at 6 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m. with musical entertainment by “Party Host DJ.

Saturday hours are 1 p.m until 11 p.m. Popular local cover band “Three Piece Nugget” takes the stage at 6 p.m. and will get the crowd rocking with classic and modern favorites.

On Sunday at noon, a short Columbus Day ceremony will take place. Winners of the Clark Public School District’s annual essay contest will read their winning pieces. The feast opens at 1 p.m. The ever-popular doo-wop group “Sounds of the Street” will get the crowd dancing and singing along when they start playing at 4 p.m. until the 8 p.m. close.

Food is plentiful at the feast, and Italian favorites from a number of vendors top the menu: sausage and peppers, pasta, pizza, eggplant parmigiana, zeppole, cannoli, sfogliatelle and the list goes on.  Fan favorites like Korean barbecue, gyros, seafood, burgers, hot dogs, sliders, roasted corn on the cob, kettle corn, funnel cake will all be there, too. Thirsty?  Lemonade and soda for the little ones; beer, wine and peaches soaked in wine for the grown-ups.

There will be lots of rides to choose from – 13 in all, according to Bernardo – from roller coasters and kiddie rides to the high-flying ferris wheel for a birds-eye-view of the fun.  

Carnival games line the midway and there will be regular 50/50 drawings and the Super 50/50 drawing on Sunday night.  Visitors can also check out the crafts, novelties and gifts for sale.

The feast is held on the grounds of the Clark Municipal Complex at 430 Westfield Avenue.  Parking is available at the Arthur L. Johnson High School.

See you at the feast!

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