SMITHVILLE - Italian heritage and pride was on full display on Saturday as the Historic Towne of Smithvillle celebrated its annual Italian festival.

“We came because we are Italian, even though we don’t have Italian last names,” laughed Doris Schaffer as she and her friend, Dorthy Rothery, watched the classic Italian game of bocce.

Schaffer was enjoying the sights as it was her first time at the festival. Rothery had been to the event once before and had enjoyed it, but there was one thing in particular that she remembered with extra fondness: “The food is delicious,” she said with a smile.

Bocce (similar to lawn bowling) was played on the Village Greene throughout the day and drew riveted watchers, but it was not the only event to draw a crowd.

People lined up along Captain Fitz’s Pier to watch traditional Italian folk dances performed by the Dance Forum South.

“I like to do the community stuff. We are honored,” said the Dance Forum South’s director Cori Jack.

Jack, along with dance teacher Sharon Festa, tailor the dances their students perform to the event that they are doing.

As popular as bocce and the Italian folk dances were to those attending the festival, perhaps nothing drew the crowd quite like the food at the festival. The smell of sausage and peppers, along with zeppole, filled the air as lines of hungry festival goers wound their way around tables and vendors all for a taste of the Italian classics.

Of course, no trip to Smithville would be complete without some shopping and there was plenty of opportunity to do just that during the festival. Numerous vendors were selling everything from shirts to handcrafted items.

The event was made possible in part by the Knights of Columbus Villa Maria Council 6342. Among some of the duties of the Knights of Columbus volunteers were to help set up for the festival and hand out fliers that listed the day’s events.

For more information on Smithville events, please visit their website at: or their Facebook page under Historic Smithville, NJ – The Village Greene.

For more information on the Knights of Columbus Knights of Columbus Villa Maria Council 6342, please visit their website at:

For more information on the Dance Forum South, please visit their website or their Facebook page under the same name.

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