SCRANTON – While some parishes across the Diocese of Scranton are still determining whether to hold summer picnics and festivals during the ongoing pandemic, other events are already taking shape.
Mary, Mother of God Parish at Holy Rosary Church will once again hold a Drive-Thru Block Party this weekend – Friday, June 18, and Saturday, June 19, in the 300-block of William Street in North Scranton.
“Normally, we have a very large, three-day block party. As the planning started in January, we didn’t know what restrictions would be lifted and what wouldn’t,” Mary Claire Boylan, a member of the planning committee, said. “We certainly didn’t want to be responsible for holding a super spreader so we decided to do a drive-thru event once again this year as we did last year.”
The Drive-Thru Block Party will run from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. each day this year.
“You have the opportunity to pre-order your food on our website (MaryMotherofGodParish.org) or through our Facebook page or our Instagram page,” Boylan added. “You can pick your time slot that you want to pick it up and pre-pay for the food.”
Pre-orders are not a necessity. Anyone can drive-up to the church, enter the driveway and order food right there. All are welcome.
“The cooks are right there. There are people that will be taking orders,” Boylan explained.
Visitors can choose from delicious food options that include potato pancakes, par-baked pizza, pizza fritta, haluski and steak and cheese sandwiches. Each night, the Drive-Thru Block Party will also have a ‘specialty’ food item.
On Friday night, customers can order either a hot sausage and pepper sandwich or a sweet sausage and pepper sandwich for $6.00. On Saturday night, the specialty food item will be a porketta sandwich for $6.00.
“There will be a DJ playing. You’ll be able to listen to music while you’re sitting in the car. You never have to leave your car. Everybody is safe,” Boylan explained.
Since COVID-19 restrictions on events have lessened in the recent month, organizers have gotten asked by a few people why they don’t simply change their format.
“It’s too late in the season and planning process to do that. It also could be entirely too many people together because our Friday night, when Picture Perfect plays, you can’t move. We have so many people there,” Boylan said. “For the three-day event, it takes us approximately 450 volunteers to get through those three days which is a lot of people. We still need a tremendous amount of volunteers for this (Drive-Thru Block Party) but we’re able to rely on the youth group to do all of the running. They’re wonderful kids!”
Organizers of the block party say last year’s event turned out to be a huge hit, which is why they felt comfortable, hosting it once again. While things might not be completely the same as the parish’s traditional festival, organizers say the event still fosters a sense of community.
“There absolutely is a sense of community because everybody is out in the middle of the road chit-chatting with everybody in their cars,” Boylan said.
In East Stroudsburg, Saint Matthew Parish made the difficult decision to cancel its traditional three-day parish festival this year but decided to replace it with another community-building event.
On Saturday, July 10, Saint Matthew Parish will hold an International Food Fest in its lower parking lot on Ridgeway Street.
“We want to highlight our diversity, united as one parish, but recognizing the beauty of our differences,” Father Ryan Glenn, Assistant Pastor of Saint Matthew Parish, said.
Noting that everyone loves food, the event will have plenty of room for visitors to spread out.
“We will be offering food from many different parts of the world. Parishioners are donating their time and are cooking. We are going to have food from Latin America, food from the Philippines, Poland, Germany, Ireland, England and of course the United States,” Father Glenn added.
Attendees will be able to purchase a passport to sample foods from four countries of their choice. Tickets are being pre-sold for $20 and will be available for $25 on the day of the food festival. The parish is planning to hold a lunch session from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and then a dinner session from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
“We’re very excited,” Father Ryan explained. “It’s just a creative way for us to get together, to do it safely and try and raise some necessary funds for the mission of our parish.”
Saint Matthew Parish is blessed to have parishioners from several different counties. Masses are offered in both English and Spanish. During the pandemic not everyone has been able to gather and this food festival is an opportunity for everyone to gather under one large tent.
“It is really a blessing and I think it’s always eye opening to see the beauty that we have in our diversity,” Father Glenn added.
For more information on purchasing a pre-sale ticket, email CCD2ndgrade@yahoo.com for more information.
All parishes across the Diocese of Scranton have been invited to submit information for their summer bazaars, picnics and festivals to be published here in The Catholic Light throughout summer editions and on the Diocese of Scranton website. To view the full list of events, please visit https://www.dioceseofscranton.org/media/summer-bazaars-picnics-and-festivals/