OCEAN TOWNSHIP: The Italian American Festival at Palaia Park, off Whalepond and Deal Roads, was a fantasy for kids, and fantastic for all for its food, games of chance, rides that soared and roared, and food.
The Wednesday to Sunday feast to serve all senses included fireworks on Friday, a show topper on a wonderful evening of stars and fun. Music prevailed and on Saturday the Italian walking band, the Old Blue Eyes impersonator extraordinaire, and clowns kept the spirits going all evening. The fire department truck ride was again a favorite as much with Dads and Moms as with little ones.
Rides have been increased in number and tummy tickling-ness since the first IAATO event 10 summers ago.
The 50-50s each hour added to the thrills, with $300 and $400 drawings from time to time, depending on the hour and size of crowd. But all brought smiles and happy faces.
The money raised goes to scholarships and other community benefits. The Twinbrook Apartments fire got some help, and in general the entire affair, the festival, contributes much to Ocean.
Once again he Police Explorers handled the huge traffic volumes with smoothness and courtesy, even when a driver missed a row or lost a car as they were leaving.
The year 2015 Italian Festival drew more than last year, and more visitors from distant town in mid and northern Jersey. The word spreads each year and the funds raised for worthy reasons.