By jeanne starmack
The annual Girard Mount Carmel Festival starts tonight and continues through Wednesday.
Concession stands, games for children, rides and entertainment will be available each night of the festival from 5 to 11 p.m.
The festival will be the same as in years past, said Ray Ragozzine, with bands, food and fun on the grounds of the Italian Fraternal Home at 33 W. Wilson Ave.
Tonight’s entertainment, Perfect Pair, starts at 7 p.m.
Ragozzine, who is in his 16th year of co-chairing the festival committee with his brother, Myron Esposito, said Thursday at the IFH that the town usually turns out in full force for the event. The biggest crowd, he said, comes on the last day, for a parade in the morning, a Mass at St. Rose Church and a luncheon at the IFH grounds. After the luncheon, IFH members accompanied by the St. Margaret’s Blue Coat Band will go to Girard Cemetery for a tribute. They will go to two other cemeteries for tributes that have a personal significance to him. At Resurrection Cemetery on Raccoon Road in Austintown, his brother-in-law, Dave Kay, is buried, and at Kerr Cemetery on Salt Springs Road, his father is buried. Fireworks will be on the IFH grounds at 11 p.m.
Ragozzine, who is steward of the IFH, said he inherited the chairmanship of the festival from his father, Ray Ragozzine Sr., who took it over from Andrew Revella in the late 1970s.
Even though the festival is on the IFH grounds, Ragozzine said, the club does not participate in putting on the event.
It takes about four to five months to prepare for the festival, he said. The most memorable part?
“Always fireworks,” he said.
Club member Dave Jones agreed. “The festival is known for the best fireworks in the county,” Jones said.