Parish fes­ti­val read­ies for 63rd edi­tion

Kick­off to OLQM an­nual mid­sum­mer clas­sic just days away

Woonsocket Call - - Front Page - By JOSEPH B. NADEAU jnadeau@woonsock­et­

WOONSOCKET— The raf­fle booth is open just off Park Square, and the car­ni­val rides will be arriving next as Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs (OLQM) parish pre­pares to open its 63rd an­nual Parish Fes­ti­val this Wed­nes­day, Aug. 2.

“Once the fes­ti­val be­gins, you know it is time to start get­ting the kids ready for the start of school in Septem­ber.” —Fes­ti­val­goer Yvette Do­iron

The pop­u­lar car­ni­val at the Woonsocket-North Smith­field line is a sum­mer mid­point for many Woonsock­eters, and also the har­bin­ger that an­other school year is just around the cor­ner. The fes­ti­val runs through Satur­day night, Aug. 5, when all the fun will end at 11 p.m.

When it is un­der­way, ex­pect to spend a lit­tle more time get­ting through Park Square be­cause the crowds will be large and the bright lights from the whirling Rock­well Amuse­ment rides dis­tract­ing.

David Laroche, a long­time parish mem­ber and fes­ti­val vol­un­teer, was al­ready work­ing a shift in the fes­ti­val ticket booth op­po­site the old Al­macs store plaza Fri­day night and was look­ing for­ward to an­other busy week at the fes­ti­val grounds.

A com­puter teacher at LaSalle High School in Prov­i­dence, Laroche has been

giv­ing part of his sum­mer va­ca­tion to the fes­ti­val for years and has even chaired the event with Woonsocket’s Romeo Berthi­aume in the past.

There is al­ways plenty for OLQM’s vol­un­teers to help out with given the mul­ti­fac­eted of­fer­ings of ac­tiv­i­ties at the fes­ti­val. Some will run the 16 parish booths of games aimed at test­ing the skill and abil­ity of par­tic­i­pants, and oth­ers will be kept busy han­dling or­ders at the Cui­sine Ron­aldo food kitchen. The Ron­aldo menu will again fea­ture clam cakes and chow­der made by the kitchen’s vol­un­teers, OLQM's dy­na­mite sand­wiches, and of course, ham­burg­ers, hot dogs and French fries.

As the fes­ti­val opens on Wed­nes­day the big rides and kid’s rides set up by Rock­well’s crew will be avail­able through a pay-one-price wrist band al­low­ing fam­i­lies to see their kids ride from 6 to 11 p.m. for a $25 charge. Coupons are avail­able from OLQM for a $2 dis­count on the wrist bands.

The garage bingo with 50 cent cards will be avail­able in the rec­tory garages from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and en­ter­tain­ment for the night will be pro­vided by “Mr. G and the Moun­tie All-Star Band along with spe­cial guest per­form­ers.

The parish game booths will open at 7 p.m. each night of the fes­ti­val and Cui­sine Ron­aldo opens at 6 p.m.

Fire­works night is on Thurs­day, at 9:30 p.m., with a rain date of Fri­day if needed, and Satur­day bring an­other wrist band pay-one-price for rides from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. only.

The big draw­ings for the $10,000 in avail­able prize money will be con­ducted on Satur­day as the fes­ti­val comes to a close at 11 p.m.

With so many peo­ple hav­ing made mem­o­ries at the fes­ti­val in the past, there is al­ways a guar­an­teed crowd for the open­ing night of the an­nual event.

Laroche said he ex­pects Wed­nes­day will be busy again this year, es­pe­cially with the op­por­tu­nity for pay-one-price on the amuse­ment rides. “Thurs­day is usu­ally a big night, too, be­cause of the fire­works, and Fri­day night is big just be­cause it’s Fri­day night and peo­ple don’t have to work the next day,” he said.

Satur­day should draw good crowds, weather per­mit­ting of course, for the mati­nee wrist­band rides, and many peo­ple may stay over for the night­time wrap up of the fes­ti­val, ac­cord­ing to Laroche.

There is en­ter­tain­ment that night by lo­cal band lead­ers and ra­dio per­son­al­ity, Jeff Ga­mache, and many peo­ple will also be stay­ing to find out the win­ning raf­fle num­bers.

The draw­ings will be for a first prize of $5,000, sec­ond prize of $2,500, third prize of $1,500, and a fourth and fifth prizes of $500 each. There is also op­por­tu­nity to buy tickets on a draw­ing for $500 worth of scratch lot­tery tickets and a daily split-the-pot.

The fes­ti­val raises money to fund OLQM’s pro­grams and parish needs through the course of the year and is its largest fundrais­ing ef­fort.

As she bought tickets from Laroche on Fri­day, Yvette R. Do­iron said the OLQM’s fes­ti­val has al­ways been a big sum­mer event for peo­ple in the city and nearby com­mu­ni­ties.

“Once the fes­ti­val be­gins, you know it is time to start get­ting the kids ready for the start of school in Septem­ber,” Do­iron said. It is al­ways place to meet peo­ple and some be­come last­ing re­la­tion­ships, she said. “My brother used to work here with his now wife, Diane (Se­vi­gny) Neveu,” she said. “He used to help his fa­ther-in-law, Leopold Se­vi­gny, work the car­ni­val and he was a mem­ber of the parish,” Do­iron said.

Asched­ule of fes­ti­val high­lights can be found on the OLQM web­site put to­gether by Laroche at

Joseph B. Nadeau/The Call

Yvette S. Do­iron, left, buys raf­fle tickets from OLQM parish vol­un­teer David Laroche.

Pho­tos by Joseph B. Nadeau/The Call

Above, signs and bill­boards sig­nal the ar­rival of the an­nual Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs Fes­ti­val, which starts this Wed­nes­day, Aug. 2, and fea­tures fire­works on Thurs­day night. Be­low, OLQM parish vol­un­teer David Laroche is al­ready man­ning the ticket...

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