ROXBURY, NJ – As always, the Rev. Marc Mancini was on hand today when the gates for the annual St. Therese Carnival opened at 6 p.m.

But always doesn’t always last forever.

Unless he makes a special trip from Totowa next year, Mancini won’t be strolling the Horseshoe Lake Fairgrounds for the 2020 version of the carnival; Mancini has about a week left as pastor of St. Therese Roman Catholic Church due to a reassignment by the Paterson Diocese.

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As he stood near the carnival entrance today, Mancini found himself greeting a steady stream of well-wishers. Many expressed their dismay at his upcoming departure and wished him well.

“Half my priesthood has been here,” said the soft-spoken Mancini. “This was a good place to be serving as a priest. This (transfer) wasn’t something I asked for. It was something that was asked of me.”

He said his new position as administrator of St. James of the Marches in Totowa will bring him closer to his office and to his parents, who still live in his hometown of Paterson. But he said those upsides do not outweigh the sadness he feels about leaving Roxbury.

A ‘Remarkable Feat’

As the carnival got underway, Roxbury Mayor Robert DeFillippo presented Mancini with a proclamation honoring St. Therese and the event. This year’s version of the carnival is the 25th.

The proclamation noted that “it is a remarkable feat to maintain a volunteer event for a span of 25 years” and praised the 4-day-long festival as providing “a great atmosphere of entertainment and socialization for Roxbury Township residents.”

According to St. Therese, the carnival attracts more than 10,000 people each year “with entertainment for all ages including carnival rides, games, food, events, demonstrations, bands, and family-friendly entertainment.”

It also helps the St. Therese parish fund its “community building activities,” said Carnival Committee Chairman Michael Calabrese.

Lots to Do

The Horseshoe Lake Fairgrounds are at 72 Eyland Ave. in Succasunna. The remaining carnival hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Thursday will feature the 9th Annual N.J. State Hot Dog Eating Contest. Friday will feature performances by the Wick-Hegarty School of Irish Dance and Grateful Dead music by the band This Old Engine. Saturday’s music will be by Joshua Bauer.

Entrance to the carnival costs $1 for those aged 10 to 60 and it’s free for everyone else.

There are more than 14 rides running at the carnival. Ride wristbands are $30 at the gate. Ride tickets can also be purchased individually.

Parking is free “thanks to the Roxbury Fire and EMS that hope that you stop by their special dunking booth,” said St. Therese.

The food tents offer hot dogs, burgers, pizza, funnel cakes, ice cream, fries, chicken and Italian food. New for this year: The food tents are close to the bandstand instead of across the fairgrounds.

There will be a 50/50 drawing every night and the “Parish Mega 50/50” on Saturday. Last year’s Mega 50/50 won $38,000.

Also to be found are 10 games of chance, special tied balloons for kids, giveaways and an Instagram Photo Contest.

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