My first, but not last, Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Ever since I started working for The Gazette, I’ve heard about the history and traditions of Hammonton. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of covering the many events that this town has to offer, which includes the Green Day Festival, Christmas tree lighting, Blueberry Festival and more.
But the one thing that everyone in town looks forward to is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Being an outsider, as I’ve lived in Egg Harbor Township my entire life, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of the event. I’ve heard tidbits, read the articles and watched a video. Growing up, EHT wasn’t really big on traditions besides sports, so I just thought, “what makes this special?”
I decided to dedicate my free time to see what the experience was all about. Needless to say, I was amazed.
The first day of the festival was enough for me to want to come back each day. I was able to experience what the hype was all about and man, did it deliver.
The next subsequent days were just me soaking in the rest of the festival. Of course, I had to try something new and it was easier when there was a variety of food stands to try out. I’ve tried meatball, steak and ribeye sandwiches, funnel cakes and freshly squeezed lemonade.
While I didn’t get a chance to try the rides, even though I’m too big for that, being able to experience something that I’ve seen in pictures and from word of mouth will be a memory that I won’t forget. I’ve been told numerous times from residents that I would enjoy it and I did.
I covered my first Feast Day, albeit in the pouring rain. It was a good thing that the rain lasted for about an hour. What really caught my eye was the fact that the rain did not stop anyone from celebrating this event. This speaks to the pride and faith of, not only the town, but to the Catholic faith.
It was quite a sight to watch the procession, following everyone all the way around, from Third Street, Fairview Avenue, Egg Harbor Road, the downtown area and finally back to Third Street. Everyone was at different parts of those named streets and taking it all in. I even saw members of the Sons of Italy covering themselves with a bus tub. That was enough for me to understand how important this is to the community.
As a first-timer, thank you to the town for letting me be a part of this. This won’t be my last time for sure.