The Saint Rocco Feast committee members include: Chairman Joe Barnao, Bill Ferris, co-chair, Frank Schifano, chairman of the St. Rocco Booth Michael Alesandro, the statue of Saint Rocco, co-chair Mary Mazzo, Monsignor John Alesandro and Nick Baldino.
St. Rocco Feast co-chair Mary Mazzo summed up this year's festival as: "Great weather, great volunteers and everyone loves St. Dominic's. There were more volunteers than ever before and that's a great sign."
Chairman Joseph L. Barnao joined her in the comments, "We have wonderful volunteers. Everything is fantastic. We have all the same volunteers coming back and we have a lot of new volunteers."
And that is what's needed in an event such as this - lots of dedicated volunteers. From Wednesday, July 13 to Sunday, July 17 parishioners worked in the booths set up in Firemen's Field each night. The event, which is a fundraiser for the parish brings people home to Oyster Bay. It is a time to meet and greet old friends.
That included Joan Heacker who came from Kansas City with her two daughters, Regina and Mayme, both college students, who worked with Melanie LaBella in the food garden booth she has chaired for 17 years.
Chairman Joseph L. Barnao said this will be his last year running the annual St. Rocco Festival. "This is my 27th year." He shook his head "no" at the thought of running it again. His co-chair, Mary Mazzo, who coordinates the volunteers said, "Maybe you should go for 28."
"No, I don't think so," said the retired East Norwich resident.
In spite of that, Mary Mazzo said, "It was a huge success and we look forward to next year."
Besides doing well at the annual St. Rocco Festival, Monsignor Alesandro said St. Dominic's is also happy with its schools. While other Catholic Schools are closing, St. Dominic's is very stable, he said.
"When the St. Dominic school was built there was one classroom per grade so we are limited by space. Some [other parochial] schools were built very large. There are always 300 students in the elementary school. There are between 450 and 500 in the high school. This year we graduated our largest class, with 136 students. There is always a gradual fluctuation in size. Next year's class will be smaller in size," said the monsignor.
More graduates means more people to come back to Oyster Bay to take part in the next St. Rocco Feast!