Portugal Day Festival 2008

It’s true, despite rumors to the contrary, the Portugal Day Festival and Parade will take place on the weekend of June 7th — mark your calendars. This is one of the biggest cultural festivals in the state, drawing a half-a-million people to Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood for music, food, drinks and great times.
New to the festival? Don’t worry: we’ve put together a survival guide for you below and some directions to help you find it. All roads (and planes and rails) lead to Newark in this state, so you’ve got plenty of options on how to get here — but, really, the train is your best bet.

Official Program of Events

Ironman at the Ironbound Newark Blog was kind enough to post the full schedule of events for the Portugal Day celebration. Here are the details excerpted for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, June 7

  • 12:00 pm: Ferry Street is closed to vehicles
  • 2:00 pm: Festival on Ferry Street aka Portugal Avenue – music, folklore, and more…
  • 6:00 pm: Theatre at Sport Club Português. Coordinated by “Proverbo.”
  • 7:30 pm: Our Lady of Fatima Church band of Newark, and Lady of Conception Mosteirense band of Fall River, on stage on Portugal Avenue (Ferry Street).
  • 8:00 pm: Initiation of Monumental Music Festival in Portuguese on Ferry St.
  • 11:35 pm: Fireworks at Riverbank Park, near the Passaic River.

Sunday, June 8

  • 8:00 am: Ferry Street is closed to vehicles
  • 9:00 am: Start of marathon on Portugal Avenue (Ferry St.), next to the Iberia Peninsula restaurant. The races are of 5 km, 1 miles, and a race for children. This event is organized by the Den of Lions of New Jersey.
  • 12:00 pm: Reception of the guests of honor at the Sport Club Português of Newark following the award ceremony honoring the following people:
    • Jon Corzine, Honorable Governor of the State of New Jersey
    • Dr. Jorge Lacão, Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
    • Grand Marshal Anthony Matinho, Director of the Luso-Americano, and Grand Marshal Dr. Fatima Campos Ferreira, RTP presenter (Portuguese television)
  • 2:30 pm: Portugal Day Parade commencement in Newark located in the “five corners” (Ferry St. with Wilson Ave). National anthems of Portugal and the United States and there will be speeches depicting Portugal Day, Luis Camoes and Portuguese Communities.
  • 3:00 pm: Grand Parade with more than 150 cultural offices, and recreational associations – Portuguese and American. Various bands.
  • 5:30 pm: Continuation of the great and popular outdoor festival in Portugal Avenue (Ferry st.), Until 11:00 pm.
  • 5:30 pm: Catholic Mass thanks to the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Elizabeth, NJ.
  • 10:00 pm: End of celebration. Opening of Ferry St. to vehicles.

Go to the Ironbound Blog to check out the full week of events.

Festival Organizers

Want to get in touch with the festival organizers? Contact information is below — calling or coming to the Ferry Street office are more likely to get a fast response than email.

Couthinho Foundation

Business: (973) 344-0123
Fax: (973) 344-0638
bcoutinho@verizon.net

296 Ferry Street
Newark, NJ 07105

Previous Coverage

Author: Ken Walker

Husband, Father, Newarker, PCA Elder, Business Analyst. In a glass case of emotion since 1978.

29 thoughts on “Portugal Day Festival 2008”

  1. The Feast from Hell is back, YUKCome to Newark’s Ironbound and feel free to urinate where ever you want, act as stupid and repulsive as possible. Anything goes. Don’t worry the cops turn a blind eye to it all.
    Homeowner’s worst nightmare is back.
    Hey folks, this feast has noting to do with the Portuguese community, its bunch of drunken lowlifes running amuck.

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  2. Ziggy, I’m sympathetic. We’re two blocks away from Ferry, so we get to see all the ripple effects throughout the neighborhood: the garbage strewn along the street, people passed out on sidewalks — it’s not pretty.
    After seeing the finance debacle by the Coutinho Foundation, it’s not terribly surprising (I’ve met with some staff, as well, and was equally underwhelmed). It just astounds me that this festival has been going on for almost thirty years, draws a half-a-million people to the Ironbound, and they have no idea how to make it into a sustainable business.
    That sort of chaos at the organizing level trickles down to the event itself. As residents, we’ve pretty much decided to enjoy the best aspects of the festival and endure the worst.

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  3. Its Portugal Day, not any of the SOuth American country Day,Nor Puerto Rico Day in Newark, goto NEw York celebrate there. Outsiders do ruin Portugal DayNot hating or discriminating, Its not Portugal Day anymore its SOuth America Day!!!!!!

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  4. these are the people who dont know anything about culture.. if its a problem why dont you get out of newark.. you are the few people who ruin it for everyone.. your all jealous that your not portuguese and aren’t perfect.. it happens to some.. not everyone can be blessed like we are… Viva Portugal!

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  5. Want less Puerto Ricans and South Americans at the feast? Well, why don’t more Portuguese people show up?? People from other countries show up because the Portuguese don’t anymore, at least not like they used to. And not for nothing, that arrogant attitude of “We’re perfect, you’re jealous” (as posted here by cj fitzsimmons) is exactly why no one cares to respect it as only a Portuguese Feast. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of ignorant people who come and act like idiots but, for me it’s more of a celebration of the Ironbound and the people who make it what it is.
    Now, I have friends that are Portuguese, I’ve been to Portugal several times and I even have a few Portuguese relatives but I have dealt with and have witnessed a lot of racism from many Portuguese people towards pretty much everyone else in the Ironbound. They seem to think they own the place. So, being that I’m part of “everyone else”, I’ll wave whatever flag I damn well please.

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  6. you waving whatever flag you please shows you dont take pride in your haritage.. you dont see itialian feasts or russian pride day.. there is a reason that there is a portuguese festival

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  7. Wow, so our politicians have negotiated a deal with the Coutinho’s Foundation and Portugal Day is on. Great! Except for the fact that the city requirements are the same they have been in recent years and the Foundation has never complied. They have never paid a cent to the city to help with the costs. They can’t even provide enough public “johns” for a festival with 500K people visiting. I am Portuguese, and love the idea of the festival, just not the way it is being run today. There are so many politicians involved that the festival should be called the Al Coutinho Campaign Fundraiser!

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  8. People drinking themselves to the point where they cannot tell the difference between a commode and your front steps…where you encounter violence..and make it a nightmare for the people who work hard all week to do their chores aroung the neighborhood…Why does it take all this to show pride in a culture?
    I don’t see the point…😉

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  9. I agree with some people on here that have voiced their opinons. The Portuguese Festival is not the same as it used to be. I am portuguese and I have been going to the Portuguese Festival since I was little and it used to be about the Portuguese people getting together and having a good time up until several years ago when everyone and their mother of all different nationalities besides portuguese came to the festival and ruined it for a lot of people. I am not being racist but you don’t see us going to the Brazilian fest or the Puerto Rican Parade in NY do you? NO! It gets way too crazy now and the people that live there have to deal with the fights and the big mess that everyone leaves. It’s about having a good time with your people let us enjoy our festival like it used to be. We need more Portuguese people there this year than anyone else. IT’S PORTUGAL DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. I always though Portugal Day was a time when all Portuguese people of the Ironbound and from all over the are (including those who speak the language of other Portuguese-Speaking countries) showcased their respective cultures and showed EVERYONE just how lovely we all are, or am I wrong? EXCUSE ME for BEING MOZAMBICAN and loving every aspect of Portuguese culture including the other places a patria decided to conquer. Yes I agree it is overrun with South Americans who aren’t necessarily Portuguese-Speaking, but it’s Newark…what are you gonna do? Sem sucumbir e aprender espanhol?

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  11. Seriously listen to yourselves. This is America. A country where all races, religions, backgrounds of all sorts are melting together because they left their country for whatever reason to come to AMERICA. I am always asked what I am because I am white, blonde haired, and green eyed. My family came over centuries ago and settled the country. Celebrating your heritage is am amazing thing to do and I don’t see Portugal or Brazil celebrating “AMERICAN DAY” so if we allow you to do this don’t go gripe that people are invading your day. Be grateful of what America is offering your family and friends with these opportunities. United we stand, divided we fall. Love and keep close to your background but don’t discriminate and get upset when other cultures want to celebrate along with you.

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  12. Seriously, nobody cares what race you are, we are all there to celebrate Portuguese culture. It’s like the Portuguese 4th of July. Everyone is welcome, just of course you can expect problems when you show up with a giant Puerto Rican flag flying. It’s disrespectful.

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  13. Since I was young, my friends(a Ukrainian&Italian)and I always went to the Portuguese Festival. Being of Polish heritage myself, I LOVE PORTUGUESE FOOD, PEOPLE AND ESPECIALLY DANCE. I will continue to go to the festival to enjoy the music and festivities. I’ve witnessed fights where old ladies were hit in the head by chairs because the couldn’t run fast enough, out of harms way. Primarily I think the venders are at fault allowing underage people to buy alcoholic beverages…get drunk..misbehave..fight..and ultimately pass out where they stand. I think the philosophy should be THE MORE THE MERRIER!Everyone should enjoy, have a good time and not look into things, because anyone who attends the festival ultimately….Loves something about Portuguese.

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  14. I have attended this festival for over 26 years and it has turned around so much. But I do have to admit it is a great time, the fun, the music, the parade and people you meet are fablous.
    True the past couple of years there has been some sort of outkast happening due to under age drinking. Rules should be like in South Beach, if they see your eyes wondering no more for you. We should all respect each other, its a fun past time…….No Violence or Misbehavior should occur.
    Many familes go with young children, I will be taking be children this year and expect to have a great time.
    So pass the word around ENJOY and BEHAVE. Its a festival, if you are looking for trouble go somwhere else.
    Not Portuguese but VIVA PORTUGUAL FODAS!!!!

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  15. THE PORTUGESE FESTIVAL IS A GREAT TIME… !! I’VE GONE FOR YEARS AND IT IS SOMETHING ME AND ALL OF MY FRIENDS LOOK FORWARD TO EVERY YEAR !!

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  16. I’m panamanian. And I like..no..LOVE to attend ALL events/parades/festivals that people of different cultures/ethnicities organize. It’s a good way for me to taste new foods & drinks, listen to good & different music, meet people and learn about their background.. yes.. in ANY EVENT OF THIS SIZE, you will have negatives (fights, drunks), you just have to be prepared.

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  17. I am a Canadian-Portuguese living in NY, and I’ve been going to the festival since I’ve been here, for the last four years. Yes, there are drunks. Yes, it’s sometimes a nightmare. But I LOVE IT!!
    Every year we have a fantastic time with food, drinks, people watching and making a few weird purchases (portugal flag do-rags).

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  18. Ive been going for years, much like other festivals its a good time if you make it. As for the racism, its sad but this is america not portugal so i feel bringing your flags isnt a crime.
    Bring your friends and go out for a nice drink and some good food. Hopefully the gangs,teenage hoodlums and drunks dont ruin it for those who still enjoy this day.

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  19. I LOOK FORWARD TO THE FESTIVAL EVERY YEAR, I REAlLY HAVE A GOOD TIME!!!!!BUT IM DEFINITLY NOT FORM PORTUGAL…..IM PUERTO RICAN BABY!!!!!!!!!YEA BABY….PUERTO RICAN..WE HAVE TO GO A SHOW HOW TO BE A REAL WOMEN, AND HOW YOU SHOW RESPECT..AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST ITS SOMETHING TO DO AFTER THE PUERTO RICAN DAY PARADE…..LOL

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  20. My ancestry is Scotch/German and we’ve been attending the festival for nearly 20 years. We always have a wonderful time and have never had any trouble, but we start early. We’re usually on our way home before 8 so I suppose we’ve missed most of the worst.
    I don’t understand the attitude of those who don’t want the participation of non-Portuguese. This strikes me as an extremely provincial point of view and not at all in the spirit with which the festival was intended.
    It would be great if there were more vendors from the Portuguese community as in the past, but I suspect that shift is due to the changing nature of the neighborhood. Hey guess what….Ferry St. wasn’t always a Portuguese neighborhood.
    Regardless, we will be there again this year and as always will be partaking in lots of delicious food and Sangria and treating people the way we expect to be treated, with respect.

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  21. I AGREE WITH KRISTIE YOU PEOPLE MUST DON’T KNOW THIS IS THE UNITED STATE OF AMERICA A LAND OPEN TO PEOPLE WHO ARE FREE TO DO AND GO ,ACT ,BE ,AND LIVE WHERE THEY WANT. I SEE WHY THIS MITE NOT HAVE HAPPENED BECAUSE OF PEOPLE WHO DONT WANT TO SHARE .THIS IS A TIME TO BE PROUD AND SHOW OTHER PEOPLE YOUR CULTURE. YOUR ANCESTOR’S WOULDN’T BE PROUD YOU FILL THIS WAY.EVERYONE HAS THEIR DIFFENCE’S BUT CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG AND HAVE A GOOD TIME.I USED TO GO WHEN I WAS A KID NOW I TAKE MY KIDS AND WE EAT MEET VERY NICE PEOPLE AND GO HOME.SOME PEOPLE I EVEN WORK WITH.COME ON LET’S HAVE SOME FUN !!!!!!!!

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  22. I missed my favorite part of this festival — and any other cultural celebration — the fireworks! Going by the time printed on the official schedule, we tried to get down to Riverbank Park about 40 minutes ahead of the show. But we only caught the tail end of it! Rrrrgh!
    Next year, I’ll call the Coutinho Foundation myself to confirm the start times for my favorite events.

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