At 9 a.m. Tuesday it was almost 90 degrees on Randall Street, but that didn’t stop Kara Vanasse and Linda Kaya from taking a moment to talk about St. Mary’s Feast on Kaya’s front porch.
With offers of iced coffee and shady seating, Kaya and Vanasse discussed why this year’s feast would be truly memorable.
Vanasse will celebrate her last feast at 34 Randall Street, the home her grandparents lived in for more than 60 years.
“That was my grandparents’ house,” said Vanasse. “We’re in the process of selling the house so this will be our last festival here. It’s really kind of sad.”
Vanasse said that the St. Mary’s Feast procession was a favorite of her grandparents, Agnes and John Falcone.
“My grandparents always had the chairs on the front porch,” she said. “They knew everyone. The parade would end up stopping in front of their house so everyone could talk to them.”
According to Kaya, no one stops at her house to talk; instead they come there to eat. “They stop at my house because I give them food and water. I know that’s the only reason they stop here,” she said with a laugh.
Kaya has already started preparing for the feast and has begun to load her freezer full of treats.
Referring to her furious baking, Kaya said, “I’m a mama. What else would I do?”
Kaya and Vanasse have been close ever since Kaya moved into the neighborhood seven years ago. Vanasse said that without the help of Kaya and other neighbors, her grandmother would not have been able to live on Randall Street for as long as she did.
“When my grandmother lived alone, they would check on her,” said Vanasse. “We relied on them and they were really the reason my grandmother was able to live alone for so long. We’re lucky to have had such wonderful people around her.”
According to Kaya, the close family relationship in her neighborhood is why she loves Knightsville.
“It’s a very close-knit group here,” said Kaya. “Lots of people are all about me, myself, and I, but that’s just not true here. There’s a real sense of community.”
Both of Kaya’s parents are from Italy, not too far from the town of Itri, where the story of Mary’s miracles originated. Kaya said that the feast holds a special place in her heart, which is a sentiment her mother shared.
“When my mom was alive, we’d take her to the feast and it really meant a lot to her as it means a lot to me,” said Kaya.
The people walking in the parade vary but Kaya said that one group dominates the procession.
“We have the communion class, the Boy Scouts, and the little old ladies with rosary beads, but the biggest part of the parade is by far the politicians,” she said.
The feast and carnival located in Knightsville will begin on Wednesday, July 18 and continue throughout the weekend until Sunday. The carnival with rides, entertainment and more than 100 vendors will be held on Phenix Avenue. On Friday at 7 p.m. there will be an outdoor Mass at St. Mary’s Church followed by a candlelit procession down Cranston Street and back to the church. After the 10 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Church on Sunday, the Madonna will be paraded through the neighborhood with the procession stopping at homes along the way. The feast will conclude that night with a fireworks show that begins at 10.