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St. Mary of Carmen’s Italian-American Festival kicks off July 13 in Newton

For decades, the St. Mary of Carmen Society of Newton has put on a festival in Nonantum. It began as a religious festival, and it still culminates in a procession in which a statute of Mary is carried and people affix dollar bills to fund college scholarships and community events.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

The St. Mary of Carmen Society’s Italian-American festival in Newton will celebrate its 87th year starting Wednesday, July 13.

The annual festival is scheduled to be held at the city’s Pellegrini Park on Hawthorn Street from July 13 to July 17, according to the organization’s website. The event includes live entertainment, rides, games, and food.

The event brings together Nonantum and many of the surrounding communities to celebrate the festival’s traditions and heritage, according to the website. About 10,000 people attend each year.

Chuck Proia, the festival’s chairman, said the annual event is a “celebration of families.”

“No matter who you are, what religion you practice or where you live, each person and family becomes a part of the history and tradition we have celebrated for the last 87 years,” Proia said in an e-mail. “Nonantum has always been about family, while it once was truly families who were all related, it has now become a community that may no longer all be related by blood, but still cares and supports all who call it home.”


The annual festival, “allows all of us to be one family again,” he said.

The traditional celebration also includes a procession through Nonantum. On Sunday, July 17, starting at 2 p.m. participants will carry a statue of the Virgin Mary through the neighborhood’s streets. People affix dollar bills on the statue to help fund scholarships and community events.

There is also a candlelight procession scheduled for 10 p.m. that night to Our Lady’s Church for the annual flight of the angel ceremony.

Rides and games open each afternoon at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and start at 4 p.m. Sunday, organizers said.

For more information, visit stmaryofcarmen.org.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.