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  • Writer's pictureKristin Guglietti

Family fun at SMMCP Carnival and Fall Festival

Candice Atwell/THG Cousins, Isabella Gutierrez, 11, (left) and Sandra Aquino-Lopez, 12, paint pumpkins during the St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish Carnival and Fall Festival on Oct. 8.

HAMMONTON—With the addition of more carnival rides and beautiful weather, many people came out to show support during the St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish’s Carnival and Fall Festival at St. Anthony Picnic Grounds located at 285 Rt. 206 from Oct. 5 to Oct. 8.

Father David Rivera was helping Lou Caruso with the smoker when The Gazette talked to him.

They were smoking ribs, shish kabobs and maple chicken breast.

“It’s a fundraiser for the parish, but at the same time I think the community likes to have something around this time to get them all out. A lot of families have said to me how nice that there’s something for kids,” Rivera said.

Susan Davidow was trying to set up a TV on one of the tables outside to watch the Eagles game.

She said the Fall Festival used to be one day on Sunday usually during Columbus Day weekend, but last year the parish turned it into a four-day festival when they added the carnival.

“Today is when we have the pumpkin painting, the face painting; we have a balloon twister out here somewhere,” Davidow said.

Many people from the community attended the festival to enjoy live music, the hayride and other fall activities.

“It’s busier now. In fact one of my workers had called and she said, ‘Where do I park? I can’t get a parking spot.’ I said, ‘Well try and come around back and tell them I said for you to get through,’” Davidow said.

Davidow said she enjoys the wine at the Fall Festival donated from Tomasello Winery.

“These are all from Tomasello wines. They donate all the wines every year. They’re such good people. They do that for the Feast [of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel], and they do it for the Fall Festival,” Davidow said.

St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish added more carnival rides from Skelly’s Amusements to the Fall Festival, and this year they added the Ferris wheel for the first time.

“I got to tell you the carnival rides have really added the extra feature and just made this blossom,” Davidow said.

One of the attendees included Louie J. Pantalone who came out to support the Fall Festival.

“A lot of activities for all families and kids. It’s really nice,” Pantalone said.

There were some police officers present during the festival including sergeant Thomas Percodani.

“We’re just here for added security and everybody’s been proper, respectful and we haven’t had any issues out here,” Percodani said.

Pantalone joked that they will be leaving shortly in handcuffs.

“That’s how we’re both going to get out of here. He’s going to lock me up,” Pantalone said.

Brittany Jenniss said her kids enjoyed the slide a bunch of times.

“It’s great. The kids are having a blast,” Jenniss said.

Danielle Galletta and Dawn Dolan also came to the festival with their children.

Mason Galletta and Will Dolan, two youngsters at the festival, said their favorite ride so far is the fun slide.

Emma Dolan, another youngster, said she won a giant inflated alien toy at one of the carnival games.

The children agreed their next ride was going to be the swings.

During the last day of the Fall Festival, Our Lady of Assumption Society cooked clams and spaghetti.

Sal Mazza, the president of Our Lady of Assumption Society said all the money from the clams goes to the church.

“We buy the clams, and we steam them and sell them, but all the money goes to the church,” Mazza said.

Mazza said he can’t believe how many people came out.

“Last year we had 500 clams it sold in two hours, so now we got 700 clams and we’re still pretty good,” Mazza said.

Next year, Mazza said they might have to bring 1,000 clams to the festival with the way it’s going now.

Other food options included the Spanish Grill, which sold shish kabobs, pork sandwiches, tacos and more. There were also places scattered around the grounds to buy cotton candy, popcorn and caramel apples.

For Bill Doberstein, he’s made caramel apples every year for the festival.

“I’ve been nonstop ever since the caramel has melted, it’s been nonstop. You see that big can of caramel? One, two, three, four. I’ve gone through five of them already since 11:30 a.m.,” Doberstein said.

Next year, Rivera said they’re going to keep improving on what they have.

“We’re going to do what we did this year and maybe we’ll add a ride or two because there’s only so much space here,” Rivera said.

Rivera thanked the community for coming out to support the parish.


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