SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- It started with 200 pounds of chop meat for meatballs, 170 pounds of hamburger meat, and 1,200 pounds of sausage...  and that was just a small portion of the food ordered for the St. Bartholomew's Church /UNICO Labor Day Festival when began 40 years ago. Members of UNICO and the parish community literally spent weeks preparing various Italian dishes for the festival. 

While the food for the feast is no longer prepared by the community and chopped meat no longer costs 98 cents a pound, the tradition continues. Hosted by the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Chapter of UNICO, St. Bartholomew's Church and St. Bartholomew's Academy, the festival is an annual tradition honoring San Nicola di Bari, the patron saint of the town of Montazzoli, Italy.

The feast has something for everyone: nightly live music, rides, games, and great food including pizza, pasta, calzones, sausage and peppers, and, of course, zeppoles. In addition, there are nightly 50/50 drawings and a super 50/50 raffle on Monday. Past winners have taken home up to $16,000.

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While school age children may be saddened that the feast signifies that the new academic year is about to begin, the fun and festivities are a welcome event at the end of every summer.

Proceeds from the feast benefit three organizations:

1.       St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church

2.       The St. Bartholomew Academy

3.       The charitable causes of the local chapter of UNICO, the largest Italian-American service organization in the U.S.

St. Bart's Festival Schedule:

Friday, August 29

4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Classic Acoustic/Electric Music by Wolf Creek (show starts at 7 p.m.)

Saturday, August 30

4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Mass in Italian - Celebrated by Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda at 5 p.m.

Procession honoring San Nicola di Bari and St. Bartholomew led by Mike Aramondo Procession Band (immediately after mass)

Mark Reno performs a Tribute to Elvis (show starts at 7 p.m.)

Sunday, August 31

4:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Rock to sounds of The Broadcasters (show starts at 7 p.m.)

Monday, Sept. 1

1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Steven Maglio performs a Tribute to Sinatra (show starts at 5:15 p.m.)

Super 50/50 Drawing - 8 p.m.

St. Bartholomew’s Church

2032 Westfield Ave.

Scotch Plains, New Jersey 07076

(908) 322-5192