St. Anthony of Padua event has something for everyone
By Mike Lauterborn
(Posted to Fairfield.Patch.com)
Fairfield, CT – Their prayers for good weather were answered – maybe a little too well as parishioners sought out shelter from the hot sun early Sunday afternoon.
The St. Anthony of Padua Annual Picnic, at 149 South Pine Creek Road, had returned, offering live music, dancing, children’s games, a bake sale, tag sale and food. A portion of the proceeds is donated to purchase back-to-school clothes and backpacks for children of Merton House, a soup kitchen in Bridgeport.
Providing some background about the popular event, co-chairperson Sue Cart explained, “The church was a Franciscan parish initially and the event began with them over 40 years ago. It has grown each year. Today, we have over 200 volunteers and draw about 3,000 visitors… and we offer some of the best strawberry shortcake in Fairfield County.”
Besides the shortcake, food onsite included hot dogs, hamburgers, clams, homemade pierogies, stuffed cabbage, lobster dinners, beer and wine.
A new feature this year, The Patrick Project: Books for Babies, gives visitors the opportunity to purchase and donate a book to Yale’s Newborn I.C.U. to make a difference in the lives of hospitalized children and their families.
Cart’s fellow co-chair, Jeremy Redgate, developer Leo Redgate’s brother, described the event as “a community builder, very family oriented, an old-fashioned picnic.”
One of the families taking it all in was the McCarthy’s of Fairfield. “We’ve been coming to the picnic since 2002,” said Kyle McCarthy. The mom of three added, “We love Father John (Paran) and, no matter what, this always seems to be the hottest, sunniest day – someone joked that it’s because of all the prayers. The shortcake and games are the highlights for us.”
Parishioner Gene Scoran’s favorite part of the picnic was the lobster. “This is the only place that serves a good lobster dinner for a very cheap price ($12, with corn, cole slaw and potato salad),” he said.
Scoran recalled past picnics. “I was born in this parish and have attended the event almost every year,” he said. “Where the current church is there was a hall that used to be the original church, and there they had plays and activities. Today, from this event, the church makes more money in one day than many other churches over two to three days. The picnic is very popular and a good family experience.”