St. Angela Merici Festival Filled Windsor’s Erie Street With Smiles

(It’s a tough pull but this team ends up winning the children’s tug-o-war contest at the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)

For two days, a stretch of Erie Street near this area of the city’s major landmark, the St. Angela Merici Catholic Church, was closed to all but pedestrians for the Church’s 32nd running of its annual street festival. There was food and music and a host of tournaments from games of brawn, like a tug-o’-war, to more cerebral pursuits such as a Scopa card competition.

St. Angela Merici Festival Soccer Game

Fast and furious action taking place as the boys and girls fought for supremacy at one of the street soccer contests at the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Men Tug-O-War Contest at St. Angela Merici Festival

Men competiting in a tug-o-war contest at the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Most, if not all of the food served was well known to fans of Italian cuisine and included pasta, pizza, arancini (rice balls), trippa, crostoli and the like all served up in the comfort of St. Angela’s Church Hall.

People serving food in the St. Angela Merici Church Hall

Volunteers in the St. Angela Merici Church Hall serving Italian foods at the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

One of the highlights which gave organizing chair Dan Casstellan a reason to smile was the less than Italian but still spectacular Liverpool Echo, a Beatles’ tribute band, which delighted the attendees Saturday night.

Dan Casstellan St. Angela Merici Festival Event Chair

Event Chairman Dan Casstellan making sure the St. Angela Merici street festival is running smoothly in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

While music, as it should, played a major role during the festival, with such acts as strolling accordion player Alessandro DeLuca and ending Sunday night with The Doo Wop Heartbreakers, it was really the contests that brought the most excitement, especially for the children. A young lad named Adriano was quite often spotted in the winner’s circle after his team won the tug-o’-war and he took home the trophy for the junior watermelon eating contest.

St. Angela Merici Festival Children's Watermelon Eating Contest Winner

Adriano, winner of the children’s watermelon eating contest is interviewed by a Toronto documentary crew at the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

On the typically hot August day, young watermelon contestant Gianluca told anyone who would listen that what attracted him to compete was not the prospect of winning but rather the prospect of eating a piece of the juicy fruit.

When Cherise Bigelow was asked about her secret to winning the adult section of the contest, she offered one piece of advice, “take big bites.”

St. Angela Merici Festival Watermelon Eating Contest

Even though these children lost the Sunday afternoon watermelon eating contest at St. Angela Merici Festival they still had time to enjoy their pieces, including Gianluca (right) who told Eyes on Windsor he wasn’t in it to win it but simply to have a refreshing piece of the fruit. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

St. Angela Merici Festival Watermelon Eating Contest Children Contestants

Contestants in the children’s watermelon eating contest preparing to rumble with their watermelon at the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Cherise Bigelow

Cherise Bigelow, moments after winning a watermelon eating contest, by using, as she says ‘big bites,’ at the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Chairman Casstellan told Eyes on Windsor of his pride in the efforts of the community to both organize and execute the event to a very high standard. All of the money, he noted, will be turned over to the Church.

There was however some thievery that dampened Sunday’s events. Overnight thieves removed a platform used to carry an 80-year-old statue of St. Angela. It was needed for a post early evening mass candlelight procession down Erie Street.

St. Angela Statue

Terry Barichello and Anthony Mucciaccio standing in front of a replacement platform in which they did yeoman’s work decorating for the St. Angela Merici statue after the first was stolen the night before. The statue is part of the St. Angela Merici Festival’s evening candlelight procession down Erie Street happening that same evening in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Windsor’s Ciociaro Club stepped in with a replacement wheeled platform, although somewhat smaller. Anthony Mucciaccio and Terry Barichello spent the morning feverishly working to decorate the replacement to have it ready for display for the rest of the festival. The actual St. Angela statue was kept inside overnight, most likely a good move by the organizers.

With the quick work of Mucciaccio and Barichello the festival went on without any other hitches.

Gerrardo DeRose and Ashley Amiouni

Gerrardo DeRose and Ashley Amiouni working at one of the refreshment stands offering cold beer, water and soft drinks during the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

young girl with a pinata during the St. Angela Merici Festival on Erie Street

A young girl getting ready to whack a pinata during the St. Angela Merici Festival in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

This Sunday the Ciociaro Club will host their very own celebration of culture and religion during the 32nd annual Madonna Di Canneto Festival (August 18)

Robert Tuomi

Article by Robert Tuomi

For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.