LODI, N.J.– Over a century ago, Sicilian immigrants in Lodi chose Labor Day to honor their patron saint, St. Joseph.
Members of Lodi's St. Joseph's Society will carry on that tradition with food, entertainment, rides, and – of course – a mass and procession of the patron saint statue.
"There's the fun aspect of it – the food, the entertainment, mingling with people – but the true meaning behind this is we're honoring St. Joseph," said Society President Antonino Pollaro.
The feast is from Sept. 2-5. On the final day, there will be a 2 p.m. Mass – conducted in English and Italian – followed by a procession.
The St. Joseph statue sits high on a centerpiece, which was attached to a float back in the 1930s or 1940s, Pollaro said.
Society members will push the float through the streets of Lodi and return to the St. Joseph Church, 40 Spring St., for a benediction.
They will be joined by religious organizations from Lodi and beyond.
"It's a good congregation of people of all walks of life if you will," said Pollaro, a father of three who recently moved from Lodi to Wayne. "If you feel and you believe, everyone is welcome to join in."
Since St. Joseph was a carpenter, the immigrants chose Labor Day as the day to honor him, according to Pollaro, 43.
Pollaro's father introduced him to the festival and the society, of which he's been president of for nearly a decade now.
The feast is made possible by a collaborative effort between the St. Joseph Society and a parish festival committee, Pollaro said.
"It's the two groups together that make the festival what it is," he added.
The hours for the festival are:
- 6-10 p.m. Friday
- 4-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
- 2-10 p.m. Monday