BEDFORD, N.Y. – St. Patrick’s Carnival, now in its 37th year at the Bedford church, is a favorite weeklong event for northern Westchester County.
Families from Westchester, its surrounding counties and Connecticut look forward to attending this first big carnival of the season, held this year from May 15 to 20 on the lawn outside St. Patrick’s Parochial School, located at 483 Old Post Road in Bedford Village.
The event was created 37 years ago by Anne Cook and other church members as a way to give the students at the parochial school something to look forward to each spring. It was never expected to turn into the school’s biggest fundraiser.
“I think in the first year it made $2,000 and we were shocked,” Cook said.
While admission to the festivities is free, games, rides by Stewart Amusements, food and raffle tickets are what pull in the profits. This year, the annual raffle will be a choice of 2012 Chevrolet Camaro convertible or $25,000 cash.
The event is one of the state's biggest money-making carnivals, said Cook. This is in large part because it is the earliest carnival in the area for the whole summer season, she said.
Run entirely by volunteers from St. Patrick's Parish, a Roman Catholic community serving 1,400 families in Bedford, Pound Ridge, parts of South Salem, Katonah and Mount Kisco, the St. Patrick’s carnival and raffle raises money for the educational ministries of the parish.
"People don't realize that St. Patrick's does not charge what it costs to educate each student, so the difference has to be made up by people putting money in the collection basket each week," said St. Patrick's Carnival volunteer Rob Ryser.
With other Catholic schools in nearby towns closed, he said, St. Patrick's has become a regional school for kids from Somers, Lewisboro, Katonah, Armonk and beyond, making it an even bigger enterprise.
Marshall Oil of Pound Ridge, Mark Boyland Real Estate in Bedford, Euphoria Kitchen in Bedford Hills, State Farm Insurance agent Samantha Politti in Bedford Hills and New York company Prudential Real Estate Douglas Elliman are the carnival's major sponsors this year. Each will have a banner for their business displayed on a carnival ride.
Carnival hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Over the weekend, one bracelet will buy kids unlimited rides from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.