MONROE, CT — Families flocked to St. Jude’s parish grounds for the first night of its annual Italian Festival Wednesday, enjoying music, amusement rides and games, while eating sausage and peppers, ice cream and other fare.
“We are extremely excited to bring back the festival this year and Father Joseph, our new pastor, would like to extend a very warm welcome to everyone,” said Paul Seperack, chairman of the St. Jude Parish Festival.
The festival, at 707 Monroe Turnpike, will also be held from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
The event, which is the church’s biggest fundraiser, is back after having been canceled last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceeds are spent on church operations, as well as many programs and ministries benefiting its parish community and town residents.
Of last year’s cancelation, Seperack said, “that was a huge disappointment to the parish and the community. However, everyone understood that the health and safety of all came first. Fortunately, we were able to replace the 2020 Festival with an Outdoor Movie Night Weekend, which proved to be so much fun for all who came.”
Seperack said the entire parish is happy the festival is back.
“It’s an amazing event that brings together generations of families,” he said. “You’ll see parents and grandparents enjoying the smiles on their children’s faces as they ride the rides and feast on great food. You’ll find kids and adults alike walking around with huge stuffed animals that they won playing the carnival games all while enjoying ice cream, snow cones, cotton candy and candy apples.”
“There’s something for everyone of every age,” he continued. “The camaraderie and fellowship that this Festival brings as everyone gathers under the big food tent is something we can all look forward to.”
Nutmeg Concessions is the food vendor this year. The menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage and peppers, pizza, pizza fritta and more. Stewart Amusements is still providing the rides and Jim Goldstein of JMG is the deejay.
There will be 50/50 raffle drawings every night and tickets for the Parish Raffle will be sold. That drawing is on Saturday night and first prize is $3,000.
The Italian Festival, which is sponsored by Colonial Sanitation, depends on the contributions of over 50 volunteers. “We are so grateful to all who give selflessly of their time and talents,” Seperack said.