Home School Association revives borough tradition


Bob Kifer of Marenna Amusements stands next to the Expo Wheel Tuesday morning as the crew sets up for the St. Francis-St. Hedwig School Carnival on the St. Francis Field in Naugatuck. The carnival opens Thursday night and runs through Tuesday. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — After a five-year hiatus, the St. Francis-St. Hedwig School is bringing an annual tradition back to Naugatuck — only this time it’s returning as a carnival.

The St. Francis-St. Hedwig School is hosting its first carnival this weekend. The carnival opens Thursday night and runs through Tuesday. The carnival is being held on the St. Francis Field on Church Street and is open from 6 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 2 to 10 p.m. during the weekend.

It has been five years since St. Francis of Assisi hosted its annual fair and the first time an event such as this has taken place since the merger of St. Francis and St. Hedwig schools.

Vice President of the St. Francis-St. Hedwig Home School Association Christina Leahy explained in an e-mail that St. Francis of Assisi Church had a fair for many years that she used to attend as a child.

“It has been about five years since they have had it, and we thought it would also be a great fundraiser for our school,” Leahy said.

For St. Francis-St. Hedwig School Principal John Salatto the carnival is a way to bring people together.

“It gives our parents, students, and public something fun to enjoy in the beginning of the summer,” Salatto said.

Mayor Robert Mezzo, who was raised in Naugatuck, remembers the fair taking place for many years at St. Francis Church.

“The St. Francis fair was a yearly highlight in Naugatuck. It is great to hear that, in partnering with St. Hedwig, the school is reviving it,” Mezzo said.

Even though the event had traditionally been a fair, the HSA decided to put together a carnival at the school.

“We chose to have a carnival because we wanted to bring something fun back into our community,” Leahy said.

The carnival will feature all the traditional fanfare including rides, games, and food, Leahy explained.

“There will be a Ferris Wheel, which you be able to see a great view of Naugatuck, the Yo-Yo, which are swings, Tilt-A-Whirl, a fun house, and a train,” Leahy said.

Leahy said that fried dough, fried Oreos, ice cream, cotton candy, and popcorn will all be served at the carnival.

“It is going to be a lot of fun and a great event, something that Naugatuck hasn’t seen in a long time,” Leahy said.

Salatto added, “We have a nice carnival planned. We have a little bit of something for everybody.”

Along with bringing fun to the community, the carnival will be a fundraiser for the HSA and the school.

“The proceeds will go to the Home School Association, which ends up going towards the school’s operating budget, scholarships, and events that we sponsor during the year for the students in the school,” Leahy said.

The carnival is owned and operated by Marenna Amusements of Orange, the same company that ran Beacon Hose Company No. 1’s Firemen’s Carnival in Beacon Falls earlier this month.