Bands performing a variety of musical styles will be featured each evening.
NILES -- A 68-year-old tradition continues this weekend.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Robbins Avenue, will celebrate the feast of their patroness with a religious ceremony and street festival. The festival features Italian food, music, games and rides.
The celebration begins with a Mass at 5 p.m. today followed by a procession down Erie, Allison and Cedar streets and Robbins Avenue. The color guard from the Knights of Columbus will carry the statue of the Blessed Virgin through the streets followed by the church's First Communion class, parishioners, organizations and the public praying the rosary.
The statue will be enshrined on the lawn in front of the church. The festival will open for a preview from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the church grounds.
A three-day prayer devotion, called a triduum, led by the Rev. James Walker, follows Sunday through Tuesday.
The festival portion of the celebration runs Wednesday through July 22 on the church grounds. Hours are from 6 to 11 p.m.
Festival food: All of the food is prepared daily by church parishioners and includes pizza, cheese puffs, fried dough twists, sausage and pepper sandwiches, smelts, cavatelli, meatball splashes and baked goods.
"It's one of the largest festivals in the area," said Mary Dull, event publicity chairwoman. "We have people who come from all over."
Lunch will be served each day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with special seating available -- whole pizzas will also be available for takeout throughout the day.
Games, carnival rides and nightly music and dancing will also be featured. Let's Play Shows Ltd. will provide the rides for the festival.
Bands will perform at the event from 7 to 11 p.m. Wednesday through July 22. The band schedule:
UWednesday, Rex Taneri Band,
UThursday and July 21, Capri Band
UFriday and July 22, Frank Tonelli Band.
The bands, all from the Mahoning Valley, play a variety of musical styles. This year's raffle will total $7,750. Prizes each evening will include $50 drawings on the hour and $100 at 11 p.m. Winners must be present for the nightly drawing. The grand raffle will be drawn Sunday, but the grand winner doesn't have to attend.