BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - If opening night is any indication of what’s to come, local residents can expect nothing short of a good time at the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Last night marked the beginning of this year’s festival, which is still going strong in its 103rd year.
“My parents started [the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel],” Anton Delia, a member of the Mount Carmel Society, explained. “It’s something to keep going,” Delia added, illustrating just how important this event is to the people who organize it.
The amount of work that the Mount Carmel Society put into planning the feast was apparent in the many attractions there.
Kids of all ages enjoyed a wide variety of amusement rides and games while adults visited the beer and wine garden. Festival goers ate from a multitude of food vendors, munching on delicious treats like cheesesteaks, calzones, zeppoles, fried oreos, Italian ice, popcorn, candy apples, funnel cakes, hotdogs, chicken fingers, and much more.
Mount Carmel Society member Lou Vispoli told The Alternative Press that those who attend the feast can expect “crowds of happy people, good food, and the best fireworks in the nation.”
On Monday night, Investors Bank will present the longest fireworks display in the state of New Jersey at 11 p.m. “Every time they shoot [the fireworks] it’s like the finale,” said Pat Capone, another member of the Mount Carmel Society. Capone referred to the fireworks display as “phenomenal,” urging residents to come out to the spectacular event.
Adding to the longstanding tradition, members of the Mount Carmel Society will process through the streets of Berkeley Heights on Monday July 16 in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. At 8 a.m., members will meet at Little Flower Church to march on a century-long route carrying a statue in her honor.
The procession will be followed by a mass for Our Lady of Mount Carmel at 11 a.m.. After the mass, a picnic will be held in Peppertown Park for all residents of the Berkeley Heights community.
For those who weren’t able to make it last night, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel will continue through Monday evening. The festival will take place on Mount Carmel Field between 6 and 11 p.m. on Friday through Sunday and from 6 p.m. until midnight on Monday.
Admission to the feast is free through Sunday, but a $10 donation is requested on Monday. “One of the purposes of [the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,] Capone explained, “is to fund the rebuilding of the Little Flower Church.” The Mount Carmel Society sponsored the church’s renovation and will use proceeds from the festival to fund their efforts.
In addition to rides, games, and food, festival goers can enjoy live music from local bands on Sunday and Monday nights. Non-stop evening entertainment will include performances by The Barefoot Tramps, Detour, and Third Rail on Sunday night and Smashed, Rewind The Crisis, and Street Hassle on Monday night. For a complete performance schedule, please visit www.feastofmountcarmel.org.
Sunday night will also feature BaDaBoom!, a special kids night fireworks display presented by Overlook Medical Center.
Local residents should be advised that Springfield Avenue will close at 6 p.m. on Monday from Plainfield Avenue into Long Hill Township.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is made possible by many generous sponsors, including Investors Bank, Overlook Medical Center, Garden State Fireworks, the Township of Berkeley Heights, the County of Union, WDHA, Bud Light, 92.3 NOW, Pasqua, nj.com, WCBS FM, Budweiser, Chevrolet, Z100, Sun Drop, 106.7 Lite FM, Sunkist, Q104.3, AT&T, Power 105.1, and 103.5 KTU.