The church of Our Lady of Grace hosts FunFest weekend – NiteFest is Saturday evening, June 4 and FunFest all day Sunday, June 5. While this year marks the eleventh annual FunFest, a non-profit fundraiser, the event is taking on new importance this year as proceeds will fund the church’s significant restoration project, which is critical to preserving one of Hoboken’s oldest churches and nationally registered historic places.
For those unfamiliar with Our Lady of Grace, the church was founded in 1851 – more than half a century before Hoboken’s most famous, blue-eyed resident was born and when the game of baseball was still being played in its infancy at Elysian Field. Nearly 165 years later, the church needs to undergo major repairs to its towering ceilings plus a total building overhaul, including installing new floors, refinishing the pews and art restoration to the stained glass windows, murals and paintings – all of which festival proceeds will benefit.
“While Our Lady of Grace is a Catholic church, our parish is grounded in the strength and history of the Hoboken community that goes beyond religion,” says pastor Father Alexander Santora, “we invite everyone to join us to enjoy the festivities, ring in summertime and celebrate our city’s beautiful church.”
FunFest is a two-day festival, both taking place at Church Square Park between Fourth and Fifth streets on Willow Avenue, and includes:
- NiteFest – Saturday, June 4 from 6:00-10:00 PM – A lively biergarten under the stars will feature music, craft beers, sangria, delicious foods and games of chance where attendees can both raise and win money.
- FunFest – Sunday, June 5 from 11:00 AM-6:00 PM – There is something for everyone at this year’s festival with pony rides, face-painting, crafts and bouncy houses for kids. Adults can enjoy a variety of great food, beverages, music and raffles, including the Super 50/50, which a lucky winner took home nearly $6,000 at last year’s festival. Channel 7 Eyewitness News meteorologist, Jeff Smith, is also set to attend to show his support.
No admission fees required to attend either event. New to this year’s FunFest, Our Lady of Grace will swing open its doors to Hoboken residents and visitors for all to enjoy the church’s stunning German Gothic architecture, historic art and statues, and grand organ with:
- Organ Concert Exhibition – Master musician, Dr. Vincent Rone, will perform two show-stopping 20-minute classical organ concerts at 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM. The concert will be played on the church’s grand organ that was installed back in 1909.
- Historic Church Tours – Lifelong Hoboken resident and Our Lady of Grace historian, Carol Wilson, will offer tours at 3:00 PM and 4:30 PM that highlight the art and architecture of the church, including paintings and ceremonial vessels that was gifted to the church by Victor Emmanuel, Emperor Napoleon III and other Italian and French royalty when the church was dedicated.
The festival’s ultimate fundraising goal is to raise funding that will directly fund Our Lady of Grace’s extensive floor to ceiling restorations. Festival organizers welcome any businesses or individuals that wish to donate to or sponsor the event. To learn more or get involved, please visit the Our Lady of Grace FunFest website at: http://www.olgfunfest.com.