It’s still a fes­ti­val

Re­cent com­bin­ing of parishes won’t in­ter­rupt 64th an­nual Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs sum­mer staple

Woonsocket Call - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSEPH B. NADEAU jnadeau@woonsock­et­

WOONSOCKET — A new par­ish com­mu­nity has been estab­lished at 1409 Park Ave., Holy Trin­ity Ro­man Catholic Par­ish, but that won’t af­fect a city sum­mer­time staple, the Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs Fes­ti­val, when it de­buts its 64th edi­tion Aug. 1-4.

Three city parishes, Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs, Holy Fam­ily on South Main Street, and Sa­cred Heart on Se­cond Av­enue were com­bined into one on July 1, and the fes­ti­val’s or­ga­niz­ers see that change as an op­por­tu­nity to bring in new vol­un­teers to help put on the an­nual par­ish fundrais­ing event.

Sa­cred Heart has closed as part of the change, and its fam­i­lies now at­tend Masses at Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs or Holy Fam­ily Church. Holy Fam­ily of­fers one Mass at 5 p.m. on Fri­days and Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs, a 4 p.m. Satur­day Mass and the rest of the ser­vices on Sun­day at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The changes have also made the Rev. Daniel Sweet of Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs the pas­tor of the com­bined par­ish com­mu­nity. Holy Fam­ily will con­tinue to of­fer some ser­vices at South Main Street through the next year, as al­lowed un­der the com­bi­na­tion.

Tina Mar­coux, the fes­ti­val’s com­mit­tee chair, sees the par­ish re­or­ga­ni­za­tion as an op­por­tu­nity to bring more parish­ioners into roles help­ing to put on the an­nual car­ni­val. Plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion work for the sum­mer event be­gins in Fe­bru­ary each year and is al­ready well along the way to this year’s fes­ti­val, open­ing the evening of

Wed­nes­day, Aug. 1.

But that also means there is plenty for new vol­un­teers to take on while work­ing in ei­ther the car­ni­val game booths, food ser­vice du­ties or grounds main­te­nance, ac­cord­ing to Mar­coux.

“We do have a num­ber of Sa­cred Heart fam­i­lies com­ing to Mass here so hope­fully we will get some new vol­un­teers,” she ex­plained.

Yes, putting on the an­nual car­ni­val re­quires a lot of com­mit­ment from the par­ish vol­un­teers but Mar­coux said it can also help peo­ple be­come more ac­tive in their church.

“We see it as a good way to in­te­grate them into par­ish life and help them to feel a part of our com­mu­nity,” she said.

The an­nual fes­ti­val raises money for the par­ish’s pro­grams as well as con­tri­bu­tions to lo­cal char­ity projects.

Janet Bal­lou, a long­time and ac­tive mem­ber of Sa­cred Heart, said she had that same idea when she de­cided to join the fes­ti­val com­mit­tee as a way to be­come in­volved with the new Holy Trin­ity Par­ish at 1409 Park Ave.

“I feel fine with it,” Bal­lou said while ex­plain­ing her in­volve­ment in the new par­ish is just a part of mov­ing on from the past. “I feel sad that my church closed,” she said while point­ing to Sa­cred Heart Church as her re­li­gious home since the 1960s. “But the Dio­cese says this is what we are do­ing, and you do what the Dio­cese says,” she said.

Bal­lou said she wasn’t a par­ish mem­ber to sit back and watch at Sa­cred Heart and she doesn’t plan to let that hap­pen at Holy Trin­ity Par­ish ei­ther.

“I’m vol­un­teer­ing for the car­ni­val and I am go­ing to con­tinue to do things for the par­ish and vol­un­teer,” she said.

Al­though, the parishes have com­bined into a new par­ish com­mu­nity, the fes­ti­val set to open on Aug. 1 will be a clas­sic OLQM car­ni­val, the same mix of ex­cit­ing amuse­ment rides, food menu, and fundrais­ing games that have marked the mid­point of sum­mer at Park Square for decades.

Mar­coux said Rock­well Amuse­ments is back again with its lineup of rides again this year and will open on Wed­nes­day with a “ride all night” bracelet for $25. Discount coupons will also be avail­able at busi­nesses around the city for $2 off the cost of the bracelet, she noted. The rides will open at 6 p.m. and con­tinue un­til 11 p.m., she noted.

Fire­works are sched­uled to be held on Thurs­day night with a rain date of Fri­day, and Jeff Gamache will be per­form­ing at the car­ni­val on Satur­day be­gin­ning around 6 or 7 p.m. and con­tin­u­ing to the start of the Big Draw­ing raf­fles as the fes­ti­val comes to a close.

A mati­nee amuse­ment ride bracelet good from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. will also be of­fered on Satur­day, she said.

The Big Draw­ing tickets will be go­ing on sale at the fes­ti­val booth on Park Av­enue on July 26 and this year will be of­fered at cost of $1, down from $2 last year, and 6 tickets for $5, 12 tickets for $10, or 25 tickets for $20. The big prizes are again a first prize of $5,000, se­cond prize of $2,500, and third prize of $1,500. There will be $500 prizes for the fourth- and fifth-prize draw­ings.

A new fundrais­ing ad­di­tion, the Prize-A-Rama, will be run by Bal­lou, Mar­coux said. The draw­ing will raf­fle off items such as a bi­cy­cle, a tele­vi­sion, cer­tifi­cates and more, she said.

And then there is the fes­ti­val’s food, the trade­mark lo­cal dy­na­mites, chow­der and clam cakes, burg­ers, hot dogs, chicken fin­gers and fries of­fered through “Ron­aldo’s Kitchen,” soft drinks and more, she noted.

It will be an­other sum­mer­time fes­ti­val at Park Square that city res­i­dents al­ways at­tend in droves.

“When they come to the fes­ti­val, they won’t no­tice any dif­fer­ence, just the lower prices for the raf­fle and Prize-A-Rama, just small changes,” Mar­coux said.

Ernest A. Brown file photo

A new par­ish com­mu­nity has been estab­lished at 1409 Park Ave., Holy Trin­ity Ro­man Catholic Par­ish, but that won’t af­fect a city sum­mer­time staple, the Our Lady Queen of Mar­tyrs Fes­ti­val, when it de­buts its 64th edi­tion Aug. 1-4.

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