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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Carnival Draws Rain Shut-ins for Fun, Food and Rides

Carnival Draws Rain Shut-ins for Fun, Food and Rides:
Jennings Beach hosts 20th annual Holy Family Parish event
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Fairfield Citizen News)

Fairfield, CT – Pop tunes blaring from a deejay booth, the smell of jumbo corn dogs lingering in the air and the rat-a-tat of the shooting gallery. It could only mean one thing: the Jennings Beach Carnival was back in town.

Sponsored by the Holy Family Parish for the 20th consecutive year, the Carnival opened in the large parking lot at Jennings Beach, 880 South Benson Road, Thursday night May 19 and was scheduled to continue through Sunday May 22. A wristband for unlimited rides could be purchased for $20.

“To my knowledge, the event has always been held the weekend before Memorial Day at Jennings,” said Suzie Whelan, the Carnival’s chairperson and a Holy Family parishioner. “The first one I remember was in 1999, when my son was in kindergarten at Holy Family. We’ve had several different carnival companies help us over the years. The current company is Commerford and Sons and the unique aspects they bring are the petting zoo, with sheep, goats and llamas, and pony rides. Other popular attractions are the Gravitron, the Fun Slide, Ferris Wheel and the Scrambler.”

Whelan added, “There’s really something for everyone, including a deejay on Friday and Saturday, which the older kids really like. A percentage of revenue on tickets and sales from coffee and pastries go to help fund church activities.”

Relaxing near the merry-go-round, Holy Family’s Father Guido Montanaro said, “Holy Family School closed in June 2010, and yet the event continued. This is energizing for all the volunteers. We prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain – I think we got our wish. We’re looking forward to a great weekend, with big crowds.”

Carnival operator Tim Commerford spoke highly of the company’s collaboration with Holy Family. “This is our third year doing this with them,” he said. “They’re good people and the town’s been great about permits. We have 16 rides in all, including the Haunted House, which is new this year.”

Fairfielder Jacqueline Levin, visiting with three-year-old son Brayden, said, “My son and I came down to Sandcastle Playground not realizing the Carnival was on. It was a nice surprise, and great break from all the rain. Brayden’s having fun on the moonbounce and mechanical cars.”

Shuttling his seven-year-old daughter from ride to ride, Fairfielder Mark Holzner said, “Livia talked about this for two weeks. We just had to come. She loves the Scrambler and the Fun House. We come here every year.”

Another Fairfielder, Milly Ruiz, a recent transplant from New York City, said, “We decided to come down with our daughter. We don’t get this kind of opportunity in the city. It’s really great to be able to hang out like this on a Friday evening instead of humping the train. We’ve been home since Sunday because of all the rain, so it’s nice to just get out, period.”

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