By Gary Budzak
This year’s St. Mary Parish Festival is so big, they’re going to have close off Henry Street.
“Most of the carnival rides will be out in Henry Street, as well as the second entertainment stage,” festival co-chair Christian Cottrell told The Gazette. “Henry Street will be closed from William Street to the end of our parking lot.”
The street closing will begin this afternoon. The festival runs from 5 p.m. to midnight on June 20 and June 21.
In years past, the festival was contained to the church’s parking lot at 82 E. William St., but there are plenty of new additions requiring more space.
The eight carnival rides and three food trucks, all provided by Funtime Carnival out of Cincinnati, are new this year. Also new is the second entertainment stage, as well as casino games such as Blackjack and Texas Hold’em.
Expected to perform Friday are The Divide, In a Jam and The Academy (Irish Dance School) as featured on America’s Got Talent. Saturday’s lineup is Project 75 and These Guys Live.
Cottrell said the festival will still offer midway games, music, inflatable toys, a silent auction, grilled food, bake sale and a beer garden featuring St. Marygritas. Pizza from DiPietro’s will be available Friday, and Berwick Catering will provide an Italian dinner on Saturday.
The St. Mary Festival began in 1998, but “it’s really taken on a new meaning in the past three years,” Cottrell said. “Three years ago we decided to stick with the same time frame, the same third weekend in June and just make it an annual thing.”
The festival is growing because Father Michael Watson, assigned to the parish last July, wants to kick it up a notch with the church’s single-largest fundraiser. Church staff say St. Mary is the largest church in the county and supports charities such as Common Ground Free Store, Family Promise and People In Need.
“This is our big event for the year, and it is by all means open to anyone and everyone,” Cottrell said. “I like everything about it – meeting new people, the community feel.”
For more information, visit http://delawarestmary.org/parish-organizations/festival.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.