City Festival Season Steps off on Acushnet Avenue

Annual Day of Portugal Festival to Start this Weekend
By Joao Ferreira, Standard-Times Staff Writer

NEW BEDFORD — It’s that time of year when Acushnet Avenue turns into a street in Portugal for a weekend.
And not just any street.
The “Ave” will host the 11th edition of the Day of Portugal street festival, a weekend filled with the popular culture, food and music from the Iberian country.
Festival President Carlos Pinhancos said the festival unites all Portuguese immigrants in the area, whether they are from mainland Portugal, the Azores or Madeira, and gives the community at large a sense of a Portuguese-style celebration.
“This feast kind of shows everybody that our nationality is one. We’re all under one flag; we’re all under one nation,” he said. “We also give people a very small sample of what a traditional Portuguese festival is.”
Event organizers on the festival’s Web page describe it as “an old-world street festival” that brings people to Portugal without leaving New Bedford.
Day of Portugal, celebrated on June 10, is the country’s national day. It celebrates the nation, its greatest poet Luis Vaz de Camoes and its communities abroad.
New Bedford marks the occasion with a three-day bash.
This weekend, Acushnet Avenue will offer open-air street cafes serving sardines and other treats, as well as Portuguese wine and beer, Portuguese entertainment on three stages and 15 artisans from the Azores and mainland Portugal.
Celebrations officially started Thursday night with a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall.
The Acushnet Avenue street festival starts at 6 this evening with an official ceremony, and will continue until midnight. It will be held from 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 2 to 10 p.m. Sunday.
A special treat Saturday includes the possible live broadcast of the first Portugal game in the Euro Cup soccer tournament against Turkey at 2:30 p.m. on a large, outdoor screen, Mr. Pinhancos said.
Throughout the weekend, about 20 Portuguese artists will perform continuously on three stages, including a group of accordionists from France and street entertainment by Portuguese folklore groups.
“They are a high-energy group and are performing multiple times,” Mr. Pinhancos said of the accordionists. “We were fortunate enough that they were willing to come.”
He said the festival organizing committee has increased the entertainment budget by 35 percent this year, despite lagging donations.
For a complete Day of Portugal entertainment schedule, visit http://nb-dayofportugal.com/
Contact Joao Ferreira at jferreira@s-t.com
June 06, 2008
Source URL: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080606/NEWS/806060347/-1/NEWS

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