Autumn Henry, the niece of the late Brian Festa, spent her Sunday “slinging soup” with boyfriend Ari Sadowitz for the resurrected community dining event, , held at the First Congregational Church on the Green.
Manning the ladles, Henry said her uncle has instilled a sense of humanity in his friends and family. “Part of his legacy,” she said as she poured spicy minestrone soup into waiting bowls, “was common-man philanthropy.”
Volunteers both common and of notoriety diligently served bowls of soup to hungry patrons throughout the day. Manning one service tray was Chief Jack Ahern and across the dining room, Frank Carrano, Chairman of the as well as John Opie waited diligent on diners.
The event held in honor of Henry’s uncle and to benefit the brought awareness to a weekend of community bonding and giving.
Held on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, Soup for All brought a sense of togetherness to Rev. Charles Woody of who has attended every Soup for All since it began in 1994 (Soup For All was held consecutively every year until 2004 and was brought back for the first time since then, this year).
“I knew Brian well,” said Woody, “and he was a great friend, chef and community advocate for feeding the homeless.” The day’s event, he added, “is a good compliment to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.”
Woody’s wife, Rev. Maxine Woody has also attended every Soup For All and said she favored Festa’s vegetable soup in past years. “I’ve always enjoyed it,” she reminisced, “but today seemed really special.”
Though the vegetable soup had topped her list, this event’s Pacific Northwest Salmon Chowder was her favorite and a favorite among all guests. Though by area businesses (save for Fire Department's Deputy Chief John Masci's "World Famours Chili"), the salmon chowder was homemade by Festa’s brother in-law and Henry’s father, Kerry Henry.
In the kitchen, hard at work, Kerry was attempting to recreate Festa’s potato leek soup – his personal favorite – and mentioned that though Festa was a good chef, he was not known for soups. Somehow, though, he said, Festa's creations were well received over the years. “I don’t know how he did it,” said Henry. Most people say of Festa’s culinary prowess, ‘It was magic.’