attractions massachusetts rhode island
« Back to News

Portuguese Feast of the Blessed Sacrament

By: SouthCoast Directory.   |  Published: 2015-07-28
portuguese feast new bedford
New Bedford, MA has been host to the Portuguese Feast of the Blessed Sacrament since 1915.
(Photo by: SouthCoast Directory)

101st Feast of the Blessed Sacrament (aka the Portuguese Feast) 

Club Madeirense
50 Madeira Ave
New Bedford, MA

Since 1915, Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento in New Bedford, Massachusetts has been host to the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, also known locally as 'The Portuguese Feast,' or simply 'The Feast'. This four-day long festival celebrates the history, culture and religion of the Portuguese community, and is the largest Portuguese feast in the United States.

The Feast is a celebration of the Portuguese people and, in particular, the people of Madeira, a Portuguese Island located in the Atlantic Ocean. The 101-year old festival was founded by four Madeiran immigrants who sought to recreate the religious festivals that were common in the small villages of their native Portugal. The Feast offers a number of activities, including continuous entertainment, a parade, a road race, authentic Madeiran food and drink (including the famous Madeira wine), vendors, rides and games.

Festival of the Blessed Sacrament
July 30 to August 2, 2015

July 30: 6pm - midnight
July 31: noon - midnight
August 1: noon - midnight
August 2: noon - midnight

portuguese feast souvenirs

Navigating the Portuguese Feast of the Blessed Sacrament

Entrance to the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is free. Tickets for food and beverage vendors are available from several locations on the Feast grounds. The Feast begins traditionally begins on Thursday evening, and ends on Sunday night.

Food and beverages are available for purchase in the Madeira grounds main pavilion, and from vendors in various locations around the Feast. Traditional Madeiran Portuguese dinners are served in the main pavilion - seating is family-style on a first come basis.

Food and beverage vendors include carne d’espeto (cook-your-own barbecue beef ), sweet mallassadas (fried dough with sugar), linguica (sausage), baccalau (codfish) sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. Special arrangements are made with the Madeiran Government to import giant casks of Madeira wine for the Feast.

The Feast also offers a family-oriented carnival space, as well as plenty of street vendors selling souvenirs.

Over 100,000 people visit the Madeira grounds annually.

portuguese feast hats

Kicking off New Bedford’s Portuguese Feast

True to the tradition of the Madeiran club, the Festeiros (Feast committee members) meet in New Bedford at the intersection of Earle St. and Atlantic Ave., and are led by the Feast President in a processional march to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, where a special Benediction to the Blessed Sacrament is held. The Festeiros then march to the memorial at Madeira Field where the original founders of the Feast are honored and the Feast officially begins.

The Feast offers continuous entertainment on three different stages as well as Fado singers in the more subdued Courtyard Cafe, located in the Museum of Madeiran Heritage.

The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament 5k Road Race

For the last 15 years, the Portuguese Feast has hosted a 5k road race, in which participants can run or walk through the historic north end of New Bedford and finish through the arches at Madeira Field.

On Sunday morning, the Festeiros - along with their spouses and  significant others along with Club Madeirense members gather at the Feast grounds and march to the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church for a special high mass.

Wrapping up the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament – the Portuguese Feast Parade

Later in the day, the Portuguese Feast parade steps off Brooklawn Park in New Bedford, and continues one mile to the Feast grounds at Madeira Field. Over 40 organizations take part in the march. Brass bands, fife and drum corps, bagpipers, singing groups, pirates, clowns, jugglers, militias, floats, classic car, traditional folk dancers and local dignitaries all participate in the rain-or-shine event.

music bands portuguese feast

« Back to News
News Archives »