PORTLAND---A scene that evokes warm memories for participants and presents the sight of a well-oiled machine for observers will play out in the hall and kitchen at St. Peter Parish, located on 72 Federal Street in Portland, on Wednesday, August 8.
The annual “cookie bake” draws over 60 volunteers, from young people all the way to parishioners in their nineties, focused on a shared goal of baking, decorating, and packaging cookies for the 93rd annual St. Peter’s Italian Bazaar (August 10-12). The baking will begin Tuesday morning before wrapping up late Wednesday afternoon.
“We are using 75 dozen eggs which will probably yield about 7,300 cookies,” said Ellie Fields-Cooper, coordinator of the cookie bake.
After the cookies are loaded out of large pizza ovens, rows of volunteers sit at tables diligently performing various tasks from frosting to packaging.
“It’s a way to give back and help our parish stay strong,” said Nancy Taliento-Goodwin, a parishioner at St. Peter Church for over 60 years. “We now have multiple generations working on the cookie bake. It’s a way to have the younger generations start to volunteer. If they volunteer with the church, which they are a part of, then they will look beyond that and volunteer in the community.”
“We are blessed to have the help and support of the younger people who enjoy participating and working at the festival with the older generation serving as role models and mentors,” said Fields-Cooper. “We hope to perpetuate our traditions, the importance of family and faith.”
Watching parishioners warmly working side by side is a testament to the beauty of a tradition that has lasted for generations and the special, close-knit parish community that brings it to life year after year.
“Most of us have known each other all of our lives,” said Fields-Cooper. “We not only share our Italian heritage, history, and faith, but we have seen each other through many challenges and triumphs. We are so blessed for our community. There is nothing more important in life than the love and good times you share with family and friends. We have that in abundance!”
Interested parties can order pastries in advance for pick up at the bazaar on Friday, August 10, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. To order cookies, cannoli, tiramisu, almond cake, and limoncello, call Nancy Taliento-Goodwin at (207) 773-8852 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The St. Peter’s Italian Bazaar on Federal Street will feature handmade Italian food and pastries, carnival games for children, booths, live music, and special events on August 10-12. On Friday, the bazaar will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with performances by The Carmine Band and other musicians. On Saturday, following the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Peter, the bazaar will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The daring can attempt to climb the ‘greased pole’ with the objective being to touch the top of a metal flagpole which is covered in axle grease. The final day of the bazaar on Sunday (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) will feature the drawing of the Superiore Lotteria that includes $5,000 in prizes. The bazaar is held in mid-August each year to commemorate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Feast of Saint Rocco.