CLARK, NJ – The Clark UNICO kicked off its three day Italian-American feast despite a line of thunderstorms that hit just before the 6 p.m. start time Friday night.

Rides were forced to close because of lightning, UNICO President Ralph Bernardo said, but food stands and game trucks were open for business and starting to draw an eager crowd of festival-goers.  The beer, wine and limoncello tent was doing a brisk business, and the New York Rangers game was on the big-screen tv.

Bernardo was discouraged by the opening night weather, but he's hoping the guardian angel medallion in his pocket will bring better results over the weekend.

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"We're hoping for the best," he said, shaking his head. "All the work that goes into this, it's just so much."

Scroll through the photo slide show to see some of the many food options available at the feast.  

“Three Piece Nugget,” new to the feast this year, was rocking on the portable stage. No rain was going to dampen their energy, and at least one listener couldn’t resist dancing along.

The feast continues Saturday, opening at 1 p.m. through 11 p.m. with rides, games, and food all day. “Sounds of the Street” takes the stage at 6 p.m.

The annual Columbus Day Ceremony takes place Sunday at noon. The feast opens Sunday at 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. Sunday's band, starting at 4 p.m. is "The Cameos."

The Clark UNICO feast is held every year over Columbus Day weekend. It takes place at the Clark Municipal Complex, 430 Westfield Avenue, Clark.

Image Credit: Susan Roselli Bonnell for TAP into Clark