ASHTABULA — Our Lady of Peace Parish will host its 122nd annual festival this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, honoring Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The three-day event will feature rides and games, ethnic food, music, prizes and a fireworks display at night at Mount Carmel Church on Columbus Avenue. Festival hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., with fireworks concluding the festival at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
“This fun-filled weekend is returning to a more family-friendly atmosphere,” said Rosemary Bernato, co-chair of the festival.
Admission is $2 per person, children under age 5 free and the admission ticket can be redeemed at the church pop/water stand. Attendees also will receive wristbands at the entrances at the church parking lot on East 21st Street and at Columbus Avenue.
The festival is known for a religious procession that winds its way from Mt. Carmel Church to the Sons of Italy on Columbus Avenue and back, beginning at about 12:15 p.m. Sunday after the 11 a.m. Mass.
Marie Cimorell, one of the many parishioners dedicated to the festival, has served as booth chairperson of the primary raffle for 36 years.
“I love doing this,” she said. “It is much like being with family.”
An Eucharist minister for more than 36 years, Cimorell enjoys “catching up” with adults she first met as young children in church.
Bernato said even people who have moved out of town return to be part of the procession and attend the festival.
“It is a homecoming for parishioners who live in other communities,” she said. “The festival tradition and the novena are very important to all parishioners, especially Marie (Cimorell) because her son and his daughters have agreed to continue the tradition of working the raffle booth.”
The festival began with the devotion of the Italian immigrants to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and feast day, July 16. Novena prayers are said at 7 p.m. through Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. Mass on Friday, at the 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday and at the 11 a.m. Mass Sunday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. The Parish Choir will offer special music for the Mass, along with the signing of “Gran Signora” in honor of Our Lady.
The novena prayers will continue on July 15 and conclude July 16, the feast day at the 7 p.m. Masses. Former clergy will be attending, including the Rev. Father Philip Miller, the Rev. Father Philip Rogers, the Rev. Father Daniel Finnerty, the Rev. Father Donald Feicht and the Rev. Father Melvin Rusnak.
The Rev. Fr. Raymond Thomas, Pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish and Mount Carmel Church, said he is very excited about the festival.
“Much work has been accomplished by the festival chairpersons, Rosemary Bernato and Don Meola, in working with both the police and fire departments in security and safety for those who come out for the festival,” he said. “We pray God will continue to bless us with the pleasant summer weather we’ve been experiencing most recently.”
After the procession, a traditional Italian cavatelli dinner will be served from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Mount Carmel Community Center.
The dinner will feature cavatelli pasta, sausage, meatballs, salad, bread and desserts.
For more information, call the parish office at 440-992-0330.