Having a fall festival seemed to make good sense for St. Gabriel’s Church in Rotterdam.
The Capital Region’s often-mild late summer is conducive to an outdoor event and there aren’t many other churches in the area hosting such celebration after Labor Day. Moreover, St. Gabriel’s fall festival this weekend coincides almost perfectly for the feast that traditionally honors the parish saint.
“Our feast date for St. Gabriel is in September, so it works out well,” festival chairwoman Joanne Russell said Thursday, as she helped prepare for the first day of the event this evening.
St. Gabriel’s began hosting the fall festival five years ago as a way to help raise money for the parish, located prominently at the junction of Curry Road and Hamburg Street. Every year, the festival has grown in size and its ability to instill a sense of community among the more than 250 volunteers who help prepare for the event and the thousands of people who attend it.
“Not only does it bring the parish closer, but it brings the community together,” Russell said.
And with clear skies in the forecast, this year’s festival is expected to bustle. The festival will feature rides, face-painting, games of chance and even a rock climbing wall.
But most of all — and in keeping with the festival tradition — St. Gabriel’s will have a lot of food. Russell said volunteers have been working around the clock this week to provide a veritable cookbook of Italian delicacies for patrons this weekend.
These foods range from the tradition pasta fagioli and fried calamari to cavatelli with broccoli. Of course, the menu also includes plenty of choices for people with a sweet tooth: Cookies, pies, pastries and assorted confections of various flavors.
“We’ve been cooking up storm here,” she said.
The festival will also feature a number of musical acts and a performance by the young dancers of Hamburg Street’s own Ferrara Dance Studio.
The event kicks off at 5 this evening and continues until 9:30. On Saturday, the festival will run from 3 to 10 p.m.
The festivities conclude Sunday, when the hours are 2 to 7 p.m.