Old-fashioned carnival fun is on tap for four days at St. Daniel the Prophet’s Summerfest grounds, 54th and Natoma. --File photo

Old-fashioned carnival fun is on tap for four days at St. Daniel the Prophet’s Summerfest grounds, 54th and Natoma. --File photo

Let the fun begin

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St. Dan’s Summerfest returns after absence 

By Tim Hadac

After an absence of several years, the St. Daniel the Prophet Parish’s Summerfest returns this week.

The family-focused event is set for Thursday, June 16 through Sunday, June 19 on parish grounds at 54th and Nashville.

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Old-fashioned carnival fun is on tap for four days at St. Daniel the Prophet’s Summerfest grounds, 54th and Natoma. –File photo

One of the area’s most popular parish carnivals, Summerfest disappeared even before the pandemic. Parishioners who had organized and staffed the annual festival were growing older and less able to devote the hundreds of volunteer hours needed to make it a success.

But a new crew is in place in 2022. Bands are ready to take the stage, and the event appears to be a throwback to Summerfest’s heyday, with carnival rides and games, food and prize drawings, and more.

Summerfest hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday, and 2 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Unlimited-rides wristbands will be on sale at the event for $70 each.

In addition to standard carnival fare like pretzels, popcorn, cotton candy and more, the food lineup includes Polish treats from the St. Dan’s Café, Mexican favorites from El Patrón, pizza from Trianao’s, frozen treats from Sno Daze Tropical Sno, and more.

Live music will be featured all four days.

Eighties cover band Jessie’s Girl will take the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The Nashville sounds of Hubie Ashcroft & The Drive will add a country twang to Summerfest at 7 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, the The Mullvanies (a band made up of young musicians from the neighborhood) will open things up at 4 p.m. Then at 7, Stereotypes (a band playing the best of classic roc and todays favorites) will be featured.

On Summerfest’s final day, New Generation Polka will perform in the afternoon. Bringing the entertainment to a crescendo will be popular Journey tribute band Infinity at 7 p.m.

Chatter on social media seems to indicate a positive buzz in the neighborhood.

“Got my wristbands, got my plans, got myself ready for fun,” said Juan Villagomez. “My kids are really looking forward to this. I’m just praying the weather stays nice.”

“Let’s hope Summerfest raises a lot of money,” Dan Krupiak said. “This parish is in good shape, but it’s not as wealthy as it used to be, especially with so many families sending their kids to public school. It could use a good a cash infusion. I know the organizers have been saying this is the parish’s biggest fundraiser. Let’s hope everyone supports it.”

Patricia Ann Ryan said she thinks “it will be good for everyone, maybe especially the children, to just get out and have good, old-fashioned fun. This [pandemic] has been so depressing for so long, and these kids, in a way, have lost two years of their childhood. I’m looking forward to just going to this carnival if for no other reason than to see the kids smile and hear their laughter. I think we all need that.”

Assuming Summerfest happens (and the weather cooperates), it will most likely be attended by thousands over its four days.

Decades ago, just about every Catholic parish in the area boasted a summer carnival—usually starting with St. Joseph immediately after Memorial Day and continuing with fests at St. Dan’s, St. Jane de Chantal, St. Symphorosa, St. Rene Goupil, Our Lady of the Snows and St. Camillus (known as Taste of Midway). In 2022, most of those are gone—some, like Taste of Midway, long gone.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any successful parish carnival, and Summerfest organizers welcome men, women and teens willing to give their time and energy to the event. As late as last week, Summerfest officials said they were in “desperate” need to more volunteers. Those interested should contact volunteer coordinator Brenda Leighton Barnes via Facebook.

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