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It’s not every day that a child can ride a flying elephant, but this boy and girl appeared to do exactly that at the 25th Annual St. Daniel the Prophet Parish’s Summerfest back in 2017. --File photo

It’s not every day that a child can ride a flying elephant, but this boy and girl appeared to do exactly that at the 25th Annual St. Daniel the Prophet Parish’s Summerfest back in 2017. --File photo

St. Dan’s Summerfest to return

Popular event was gone for several years

By Tim Hadac

Details are just starting to emerge, but it looks like St. Daniel the Prophet Parish’s Summerfest will return in 2022, after an absence of several years.

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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It’s not every day that a child can ride a flying elephant, but this boy and girl appeared to do exactly that at the 25th Annual St. Daniel the Prophet Parish’s Summerfest back in 2017. –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 already booked, and the event appears to be shaping up to be a throwback to Summerfest’s heyday, with carnival rides and games, food and prize drawings, and more.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement that Garfield Ridge’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is set to roll up Archer on Saturday, March 12.

Reaction in the neighborhood appeared mostly positive, judging from social media chatter.

“This is great news,” Jon Koziarz said. “After two years of COVID-19, people are sick of life being stuck in neutral. It will be great to get out and just see people having fun.”

Berto Guillen sees the return of Summerfest as “just the right shot in the arm the neighborhood needs. This was such a happy place when my family moved here in 2018. But this pandemic has everyone in the dumps. It’s like the neighborhood got dull. Things like [Summerfest] can hopefully get us back to where we need to be.”

Theresa Stopka said she looks forward to playing bingo and having a good time, but I hope the young people organizing this abide by all the precautions we’re supposed to be taking. I always am concerned about these events spreading the virus—especially to the elderly. Celebrate yes, but do so with common sense.”

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, 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. Those interested should contact volunteer coordinator Brenda Leighton Barnes via Facebook.

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