If you walk by on any given night, it always seems that owner Manuel “Manny” Carvalho has the majority of the Portuguese population in Mineola seated within the restaurant’s mirrored walls. This past weekend it looked like he had every man, woman and child of Portuguese heritage within the small half-block radius of his establishment and the rear parking lot – and even those who were Portuguese for a day – drop by for his .
The all-day festival, which was held on Saturday to coincide with Portugal Day, which celebrate’s the country’s national day and also coincides with Luís de Camões, who penned Portugal’s national epic poem.
Carvalho estimated that 1,000 people were in the back parking lot just that night, many of which had stayed throughout the entire day, watching Portugal’s national soccer team compete against Germany in the 2012 Euro tournament on flat-screen TVs he had set up under a tent, traditional Portuguese dances by the and an almost infinite amount of authentic food prepared by Carvalho’s restaurant.
A portion of the proceeds raised by the festival will be donated to the , , and the .
A variety of musical acts including Portuguese band “Sugartown” entertained the crowd deep into the night with the headliner being singer Quim Barreiros, a native-born Portuguese pimba musician who plays the accordion.
“For the first time? I think it’s very good,” Carvalho said when asked his thoughts on the turnout. “It was a dream for many years and it’s a huge success and we’re going to do it again.”
A second festival is planned for next year.