By Deacon Gary DiLallo
At 7 a.m., as the sun was rising in the town of Maine, dissipating the heavy fog, volunteers and staff were busy preparing food for what would become a hectic day of serving Most Holy Rosary’s specialty—ethnic food: Halupki, Halushki, Pierogi, Kielbasa and much more.
Saturday morning, Oct. 2, marked the start of a full day of fun as Oktoberfest 2021 began with the opening prayer by Father Clarence Cerwonka. The volunteers stood around in a circle repeating his opening prayer/statement: “Hallelujah.”
Richard Gumble, one of the founders of the Oktoberfest, which started about 41 years ago, said he was “so happy to see this continue. The food hasn’t changed too much, but I don’t think they will be having a square dance.”
The event drew a large crowd, with some traveling several hundred miles to attend.
Besides food, beverages and music from several bands, there were specialty tables that included the Wildlife Care and Rescue display of baby red squirrels and opossums, which drew a lot of interest from the attendees.
In addition, Annastaszia Alfarano, a young lady from our parish, set up an awareness booth in support of her passion “Joyful Heart Foundation.” This organization works toward a world free of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. She, too, was excited to be a part of the day-long event.
The youngsters were entertained by all sorts of games and winning prizes.
At 9:30 p.m., super raffle and basket winners were announced as the band played classic rock music. Families and friends lingered eating dinner, socializing and dancing.
People seemed so grateful to have an opportunity to socialize after being locked down for so many months. Jane Austenfeld, a senior at Whitney Point High School and a volunteer, summed it up: “It was so nice to see people out of their homes and enjoying not only themselves, but also the company of others. People were laughing, talking with others, eating great food, listening to music and overall just having a great time. Everyone looked so happy, and that was really nice to see.”
All of us are so thankful to God for blessing us with a beautiful day.
Deacon Gary DiLallo is the pastoral associate and business administrator at Most Holy Rosary Church in Maine.