New Bedford Portuguese Feast Still in Limbo for 2022
A decision has yet to be made as to whether the more than 100-year-old Feast of the Blessed Sacrament will return to the Madeira Feast Grounds in New Bedford's North End this summer. The much-anticipated event was scrapped for two consecutive years due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brandon Travers, Vice President of the Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento, which stages the popular event known to many simply as the Portuguese Feast, said as of right now, the plan is to go ahead.
"We are preparing for the Feast like any other year," he said.
But Travers admits a decision about whether the feast goes on is not up to the organizers.
"It is totally out of our control," he said.
Travers said a decision to go ahead with the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is "pretty much" up to the Mitchell Administration, "or the state or the federal government depending upon the COVID cases."
Asked whether the first post-COVID feast would be a special event, Travers said, "We don't know what to expect so, we just have to plan like it's a regular year."
Will the feast will ever return to what it once was after being canceled two years in a row?
"We hope it will be someday," Travers said. "We have to wait and see."
The decision to cancel the 2019 Feast of the Blessed Sacrament was fairly early in the pandemic when there was a lot of uncertainty and no vaccines available. Some committee members expressed disappointment over the decision to cancel last year's feast after the decision was made to proceed with the Whaling City Festival at Buttonwood Park.
Committee members will plan for the return of the feast this year and hope that conditions allow it to happen. Many feast loyalists hope the event will go on. Would you go if the feast is held? What did you miss most about the feast when it was canceled?