City will celebrate the Feast of St. Jean Baptiste Monday

City will celebrate the Feast of St. Jean Baptiste Monday

WOONSOCKET – The Feast of St. Jean Baptiste, a citywide multi-ethnic heritage event, will take place on Monday, June 25, in downtown Woonsocket.

The celebration will kick off at 4:15 p.m., when the bells of six city churches will ring simultaneously. At 4:30 p.m., a procession will travel through the main archway telling the story of Woonsocket and St. Jean Baptiste to the main stage on the corner of Railroad and James streets, where the Rev. Robert Perron of St. Michael Parish, Providence, will celebrate a French Catholic Mass, assisted by Bishop Emeritus Louis Gelineau and other priests.

At the same time, Bishop Herson Gonzalez of Calvary Worship Center will lead an all-faith service on stage number four at the corner of Cato and Main streets.

Following the faith services, entertainment will begin on all five stages at 6 p.m. On stage one, Emily Luther will perform at 6 p.m. followed by Danny Klein’s Full House, a J. Geils Band cover band led by former J. Geils Band bassist Danny Klein, at 7 p.m. On stage two, Blind Faith will perform at 6 p.m. followed by harpist Mary King at 7 p.m. and Manna at 8 p.m. On stage three, Irish stepdancers will perform at 6 p.m. followed by Missy and Jeff at 7 p.m. and Don Coit at 8 p.m. On stage four, “Polka” Paul Belanger will take the stage at 6 p.m. followed by the Al McKay Band at 7:30 p.m. On stage five, Jeff Gamache will MC children’s entertainment beginning at 6 p.m.

A highlight of the evening will be a free barbecue for city children prepared by caterer Tony Makalinaw. The barbecue will include hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit, corn bread and baked beans and be served in the Chan’s parking lot beginning at 6 p.m.

“We will have the ability to feed up to 2,500 inner city children. Every child is welcome,” said event organizer Albert Beauparlant.

Ethnic food will be available for purchase. Throughout the evening, booths set up on Main Street will feature the city’s history and heritage, local artists Ron Dezier and Dan Guernon and social service organizations providing services for families and children. The event will also feature 10 characters commemorating the city’s heritage in historical dress. Quoits master John Lambert will offer lessons for children in how to play Woonsocket’s traditional sport.

The prior evening, the public is invited to attend an intimate Mass celebrated by the Rev. Dennis Reardon of All Saints Church and the exaltation of a statue of St. Jean Baptiste on Sunday, June 24, at 6 p.m. on the main stage at the corner of Railroad and James streets.

Street closings for the event will begin at noon on Monday and continue until 10 p.m. Alternative RIPTA bus routes during this time will be available on the RIPTA website. Attendees are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.