The 96th Annual Saint Sebastian’s Day Returns to Montclair

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The 96th annual Saint Sebastian’s Day, organized by the Saint Sebastian Society, ended on Sunday August 28 with the traditional procession with a statue of the saint from the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to Kaveny Field.

Saint Sebastian is a Christian martyr known to have survived and recovered from an attack by numerous arrows before being beaten to death with clubs.

The San Sebastian celebration in Montclair had a much more upbeat atmosphere. Hundreds of people from Montclair and nearby towns gathered for five days of rides, games and funnel cakes, starting Wednesday, August 24.

Occupying Walnut and Christopher Streets and spanning Kaveny Field, businesses from across North Jersey filled the open fields.

Vendors, familiar faces and new ones, participated in the carnival.

Pat’s Italian Sausage, a family business, has been involved for 20 years. Originally from Lyndhurst, Pat Derosn and his family started their food business in 1976.

“It all started with cotton candy, popcorn, stuff like that,” said Marylin Derosn, Pat’s sister, who runs the adjacent food cart that sells funnel cakes and fried Oreos. “And then he got into making London grill sandwiches for a while.”

The food is not the only attraction of the carnival. Kushimuyu, a business run by Atick Paguay and his family, sells artisanal indigenous products from Ecuador. When translated into English, the name Kushimuyu means “happy seed”. Happiness is evoked by the assortment of colors the family has arranged in various dreamcatchers, bracelets and woven bags. It was the family’s first year at Carnival, and Paguay said he was “excited to expose others to Ecuadorian art and culture.”

In addition to vendor booths and rides, visitors enjoyed live music from artists such as Johnny Silvestry, Andrea Nies and Tommy Scala from the hit show “The Voice”.

When they weren’t in line for rides, like the “Scotter”, kids and teens flocked to DeeWorks Face Painting, where they received replica wings, flowers or delicately drawn cartoon characters on their face or their hands.

DeeWorks Face Painting owner Dee Spencer Bush left with artist Chandra Mustafaa, center, and line manager Renee Gray.

DeeWorks Face Painting owner Dee Spencer Bush left with artist Chandra Mustafaa, center, and line manager Renee Gray.

Dee Spencer Bush, the owner, participated for the first time in the feast of San Sebastian. She is also resident makeup artist at the Turtle Back Zoo.

Jill Reich of Montclair has brought her family to Carnival for the past seven years. “I’m not looking forward to it at all,” she joked as her kids lined up for the rides, “but my kids are.”

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