Feast History


Founded in 1915 by four Madeiran immigrant men who wanted to recreate the religious festivals that were so common in the villages of their home island and to commemorate their safe passage to these American shores, this traditional mid-summer gathering for family and friends has become the Largest Portuguese Feast in the World and the largest ethnic festival in New England. The Feast attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe.

Throughout its history, men of Madeiran heritage and their families have made the feast possible by their generous contributions of time and labor. Each year at the conclusion of the feast, the Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento selects a committee of festeiros to organize the next year's event. One must first serve on a Feast Committee to be eligible for full membership in the Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento, Inc. A club member may serve on a Feast Committee only once every five years with the exception of special anniversary years. All members of the Feast Committee can trace their Madeiran Portuguese heritage through at least one of their parents.

The Feast has something to please everyone. Presenting a delightful menu of Portuguese cuisine and continuous Entertainment at four performance locations including cabaret performances in our museum courtyard. Plus, we present a full carnival midway of rides and games. Each year on Sunday, we bring the city of New Bedford's largest parade to the streets of the North End.

At this years Feast, more than 100,000 visitors are expected to enter the grounds of the feast - all at no charge. The Feast with all of its entertainment remains an admission free event. Come see for yourself and bring your family.

The Feast is an opportunity for all to share in the rich Madeiran heritage and family values. Since 1998, the Feast has presented a special Saturday afternoon of children's entertainment. The Kid's Day program has grown over the years and this year is chock full of wonderful entertainment that will please the child in us all.

Stop by the colorful Santana House. Recreated in the architectural style of the village houses of Santana, Madeira, this building is the location where we serve the world-reknowned Madeira Wine.

Or visit the Museum of Madeiran Heritage which will be open to the public at no charge throughout the Feast. The Museum is the only one of its kind in America and houses a comprehensive collection of photographs and artifacts that tell the story of Madeiran immigration to the United States.

Take some time to enjoy cooking a skewer full of the best barbecue beef available. Our 40 foot barbecue pit is one of a kind - all built and maintained by club members. The surrounding barracas (food stands) and latada (grape arbor) create an old world ambience that is true to our Madeiran heritage.