St. Rocco’s Italian Festival remains popular after 40 years

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 September 2016 at 4:37 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HULBERTON – The hamlet of Hulberton on the Erie Canal welcomed a big crowd of people today for the 40th annual St. Rocco’s Italian Festival. People flock to the community for Italian food, the Western New York Bocce Tournament and the chance to see old friends.

The top photo shows Jon Bower, 19, of Holley concentrating on his next shot in Bocce. He competed on the Erie Canalway Tree Farm team. There are 24 teams in today’s tournament.

The festival is the fund-raiser for the Catholic parish in Holley and Kendall, which includes St. Mary’s Church in Holley and St. Mark’s in Kendall.

St. Rocco spaghetti dinner

A building that used to be used by a quarry company is now a dining hall and kitchen for the annual spaghetti dinner. Volunteers had enough dinners for 200 people. This picture was taken at about 2:30 p.m., when there was a lull in the dinner crowd.

Lena Pellegrino

Lena Pellegrino, a former Holley resident who now lives in Brockport, tends to the fried dough at the food pavilion.

Dan Mawn

Dan Mawn is in the back while a stack of sugar waffles wait to be consumed. The festival draws people from throughout the region for the food and fellowship.

The Brick Band

The Brick Band from Holley had the festival grounds rocking.

Ed Morgan

Ed Morgan keeps watch on a pot of spaghetti. Volunteers started working on the dinners on Wednesday, first preparing meatballs for today’s crowd.

Jean Valente

Jean Valente of Kendall serves one of the spaghetti dinners.

Charlene Poprawski and Olivia Welch

Charlene Poprawski, left, and Olivia Welch add sugar, and cinnamon and sugar to friend dough, which was popular with the crowd. Long-time volunteers said they were encouraged to see many younger people helping to put on the annual event, which is always the Sunday before Labor Day.

Bocce players

Bocce players measure to see who is closest to the small ball.

St. Rocco's festival goers

Festival-goers watch the bocce and enjoy a moment to catch up with their friends.