St. Ubaldo Day A Boost For Jessup Businesses
JESSUP — As runners race through the streets carrying 400-pound statues for St. Ubaldo Day’s Race of the Saints today, crowds race into local businesses. The annual event that draws massive crowds to Jessup every year has proven to be a boon for businesses in the town, notably those along the race route on Church Street. With banners representing the families of St. Ubaldo, St. George and St. Anthony draped across homes and businesses throughout Jessup, the aptly-named Three Saints Barber Shop & Shave Parlor on Church Street fits right in. Shop owner and lifelong Archbald and Jessup resident Mike McAndrew has never missed a St. Ubaldo Day in 43 years, so it only made sense for him to give a nod to the holiday with his barber shop. This week is one of the barber shop’s busiest weeks of the year, he said, explaining it’s not just the holiday itself but the days leading up to it. “You get 20,000, 25,000 people in town. That’s a lot of exposure for the businesses,” McAndrew said. “Twenty-five thousand people — if I get 1% of that business, do the math.” Passersby are greeted with a large Ubaldo display at his storefront, featuring banners for each of the saints, T-shirts, photos and brocche, or ceramic vases, that are traditionally smashed before the race. When customers step inside, they see shelves upon shelves lined with shirts, sweatshirts and banners for sale. The barber shop sells the items on behalf of the St. Ubaldo Society, including the shirts the runners, or ceraioli, wear as they carry the statues through town. “I sell out just about every year,” McAndrew said. The society sells about 500 shirts each year, said St. Ubaldo Society member and former President Chris Nicastro. It’s one of their top fundraisers, he said. Just a block down Church Street from Three Saints, St. George’s Restaurant was gearing up for a breakfast buffet before the race, featuring a St. Ubaldo Day staple: porketta. “It’s the best day of the year for me,” said owner George Bolsar. “It’s a money maker.” The name of the restaurant is a play on Bolsar’s name and the saint. “It’s a long day, and it’s a busy day,” he said, adding that the atmosphere is always cheerful. Farther up Church Street, Mariano’s Cucina whipped up 500 porketta sandwiches, in addition to favorites like risotto, sausage and peppers, pizza and cannolis, said owner Jackie Vanston. Between the race and the carnival in town, “parking is a premium,” she said. Instead of opening their dining facilities where they may not get as many customers, Mariano’s sets up a tent in front of their restaurant and sells food outside, Vanston said. They also scale back their menu to sell more picnic-oriented food, she said. “It’s certainly not a negative,” she said. “It’s a fun time. ... There’s a lot of people. There’s a lot of energy in the air.” Even if stores are closed, just having so many people see their signs is a plus, McAndrew said. For open businesses, he compared it to a Black Friday rush. “It’s like an extra Christmas for businesses,” McAndrew said. Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5181 @flesnefskyTT St. Ubaldo Day has a busy schedule, with events culminating with the Corsa dei Ceri at 5:30 p.m. Here’s the full schedule: 6-7:45 a.m. — Drummers wake up the capodieci, or captains, and march through the town to begin St. Ubaldo Day. 8-8:30 a.m. — Wreath-laying ceremony at St. John’s Italian-American Cemetery to honor past ceraioli, or runners. 8:45-9:15 a.m. — Prayer service at the St. Ubaldo Society Cultural Center Chapel, 310 Third Ave. 9:30-10 a.m. — Procession with the saints and ceraioli to St. Michael Church, Queen of Angels Parish. 10-10:30 a.m. — Light breakfast at the cultural center. 10:30-11 a.m. — Procession from the center to St. Michael. 11-noon — Mass at St. Michael. Noon-12:30 p.m. — Alzata, or raising of the saints. 12:30-1:30 p.m. — Mostra, where each family pays tribute to those who can no longer participate. 1:30-3 p.m. — Lunch. 4:20-5:30 p.m. — Procession of the holy relic of St. Ubaldo and the large St. Ubaldo statue from the cultural center to the start of the course. 5:30-7:30 p.m. — The Corsa dei Ceri will wind through the town. 8-8:30 p.m. — Procession back to the chapel at the cultural center. — ST. UBALDO SOCIETY Corsa dei Ceri stops throughout Jessup as the runners proceed through the town: n Powell Avenue and Ward Street. n Mylert Street and Short Street. n Grassy Island Avenue and Ward Street. n Church Street and Center Street. n The “S turn” at Church Street and Front Street. n Church Street and Lane Street. n Church Street and Third Avenue. n Participants will turn and run up Church Street. n Church Street and Erie Street. n Erie Street. n Jessup Veterans Memorial Field.