Friday night I attended the St.John’s Feast at the Lusitana Club in Cumberland. This festival is held every year in June to celebrate Saint John. The Lusitana Club is a
Portuguese social club, a non-profit organization whose main goal is to maintain the Portuguese culture and community. They do this through numerous recreational activities such as the Festival this past weekend. The feast ran from Friday until Sunday Night, with a variety of events including Folklore group dancers and bands.
Not being Portuguese and attending this event was definitely a wonderful cultural experience. The combination of the food, the dancing, and the music made it difficult to believe you were not in Portugal, but actually in Cumberland!
There was a large tent set up behind the Club which functioned as the restaurant, serving up the most delicious and interesting dishes. We had to try it all, so we ordered carne no espeto (beef on skewers), arroz de marisco (shrimp with rice in a wine sauce) and cabrito (goat). I had never tasted goat before. It was very similar to lamb, it was a dark meat that was very good! We did not try the sardinhas (grilled sardines), although people were raving about how tasty they were. Everything was delicious, and apparently we weren’t the only ones who thought so because the line for a table inside the tent went around the corner! Everything was also well orchestrated by the groups of volunteers.
The festival also had a variety of fun entertainment. A live band was performing a mix of modern hits and Portuguese classics Dancing to the music was the perfect way to burn off the calories from the feast we had for dinner! The dance floor was filled with people of all ages, doing both the traditional cultural dances as well as just wiggling about on the dance floor. There were also several carnival rides for the children. We were not brave enough to attempt these, but from the look of the lines, many people were!
We concluded the night with warm, soft, sugary Portuguese dough boys and enormous glasses of sangria…the perfect ending to a great night out!
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