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Portuguese Festival Set For June 9

Churrasqueira Bairrada to hold heritage event for Portugal Day

Manuel Carvalho came to the United States from Portugal in 1984 with a dream; a dream of opening a restaurant. What started out as an establishment on Willis Avenue in 1993, moved into the bustling dining spot on Jericho Turnpike, Churrasqueira Bairrada in 1996 that is open today. It’s been a staple in the village and Carvalho wants to celebrate another staple for the Portuguese community: Portugal Day.

Portuguese citizens and emigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. The June 10 date commemorates the death of national literary icon Luís Vaz de Camões in 1580.

His famous poem, “Os Lusíadas,” became a symbol for the great feats of the Portuguese Empire a lightning rod for Portuguese independence.

The most popular celebration of this day takes place yearly in Newark, New Jersey. Carvalho wanted to get Mineola a piece of the action.

On June 9, coinciding with Portugal Day, Bairrada will be holding an outdoor Portuguese festival for residents from noon to 10 p.m.

“The people of Mineola deserve this,” he said outside his restaurant on Friday, May 18. “I feel it’s the right thing to do.”

Festival-goers will gather for a chance to taste the fine cuisine of Bairrada. A portion of the proceeds raised by the festival will be donated to the Mineola Athletic Association, Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corp, Mineola Auxiliary Police Department and the Mineola Junior Fire Department.

The festival will be held in the Bairrada’s parking lot as well as the adjoining lot with the permission of the owners of that building. A variety of musical acts including Portuguese bands and singer Quim Barreiros will be performing.

Carvalho originally wanted to do it in 2011, but this year’s premier attraction, Barreiros, was unavailable.

“This year we’re getting him and I’m very excited,” Carvalho stated.

Along with Barreiros, two additional bands will be performing. SugarTown and Massachusetts-based band Centerfolds will put on a show.

Wanting to ensure the safety of the persons coming into the event, Carvalho requested the use of Banbury Road between Willis Avenue and Mineola Boulevard, closing the block down during the festival hours.

“The reason for closing the street would make it so that people don’t drive down during the event,” said restaurant manager Gary Mazur, “because there are going to be people walking in, there’ll be one entranceway into his parking lot into the back to get in and people may be in the street and you don’t want any inconveniences as far as traffic coming down there. It’s definitely for safety’s sake.”

Trustee Paul Cusato said he was most concerned about people “spilling out” onto the adjoining roads and residential properties.

According to Mazur, employees would be assigned “to make sure that there aren’t people wondering onto people’s lawns, leaving any refuse,” from the start of the event through after the day is over to clean up anything that may be on the street.

“Good food, good music, good fun is what I expect,” Carvalho said. “I hope people enjoy the day. Let’s hope for good weather.”

A valet company will also show different parking locations and Carvalho has secured 212 Jericho Turnpike on the corner of Jericho and Mineola Boulevard which has 42 spaces available for parking so that valets are not running across Jericho Turnpike.

“It’s going to be great,” Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said. “I hope the weather holds up. The Portuguese community is one of the strongest ethnic groups we have.”

There are a total of 17 residents on Banbury Road, with Carvalho obtaining signatures of support from 14 of them about the event. The parking lot to the rear of Carlino’s would be the “stopping point” according to Mazur.

“It would prevent no one from using that parking lot, Carlino’s restaurant or any other business that uses that parking lot,” he noted.