NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The annual Mount Carmel Festival in Niles is happening right now. We spoke with volunteers and learned how they make everything possible.
This weekend is Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s 89th annual summer festival. It’s the first time since the pandemic that they are fully back.
We spoke with the administrative assistant of the church, Pam Sowers, about how they have dealt with volunteer shortages and all the work the volunteers do for the festival and the community.
“We do have a lot of volunteers, it takes a lot of volunteers to pull this off,” Sowers said.
Sowers says finding volunteers is a little more challenging right now.
“We have some shortage of volunteers, but the parishioners really step up,” she said.
Sowers says the volunteers put their whole heart into the church and the community. The volunteers make cheese puffs, pizzas, cut peppers and more.
The church was initially worried about determining the prices of everything because of inflation.
“Unfortunately with the economy and the prices of gas, we try to keep the costs of everything lower,” Sowers said.
The church says they have been able to keep their prices at the festival fairly low so that the community can enjoy this event.
We spoke with one volunteer and church member, Jenny Pierce, who has been coming to the festival for 26 years.
“In a small community such as Niles, we think that it’s really important to give back to the community,” Pierce said.
Although finding volunteers can be difficult at times, the church is grateful to have consistent volunteers year after year who make the festival possible.
“The interaction we have with some of our customers and just being a part of the whole production of it has really been a special part of our lives,” Pierce said.
The Niles football team, Niles Key Club and Kennedy kids showed up to volunteer too.