NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The 86th Mt. Carmel Festival opened up in Niles with plenty of heat, and it just going to get hotter looking ahead.
Excessive heat warnings have been issued through Saturday evening and organizers said they are prepared.
“People wait all year for this. They are going to wait for the sun to go down and as soon as the sun goes down, people will come stampeding through here,” said festival chairman Joe Merlo.
Merlo knows the festival has always been a hot spot for great food and good times, but this year might rank as one of the hottest.
There will be upcoming temperatures in the low to mid-90s, with those heat indices forecast in the low 100s.
Organizers said they are prepared for the heat.
“Being how hot it is, we made sure we had plenty of ice, plenty of water and plenty of Gatorade. We went out, purchased fans for the workers sitting over the grills, fryers, we don’t want anybody getting hurt,” Merlo said.
The festival has its usual line-up of games and fun, but also includes bocce tournaments under the shade and nightly live entertainment. The delicious food is what brings people back every year.
“Well, the thing with us is everything is homemade. Everything is from scratch. We start everything from the eggs, the milk, the flour. Everything is homemade, so that’s what makes us so successful here,” Merlo said.
This is Father Lavelle’s eighth festival and he said the organizers know that the weather can make or break an outdoor festival.
“We certainly have plenty of refreshments for everybody. We have tents and shaded areas for everyone. We certainly want everyone to stay safe, but still recognize that a lot of people want to come out and support us, which in turn supports the community. So we are going to do everything we can to make sure it is environmentally friendly with all the different stations and beverages,” Lavelle said.
The weather should be much cooler when the car raffle is drawn on Sunday at 11 p.m.