The 96th annual St. Sebastian Feast, organized by the St. Sebastian Society, culminated Sunday, Aug. 28, in the traditional procession with a statue of the saint from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church to Kaveny Field.

St. Sebastian is a Christian martyr who is known for surviving and recovering from an attack by many arrows before being beaten to death with clubs.

The St. Sebastian celebration in Montclair had a much more upbeat atmosphere. Hundreds of people from Montclair and neighboring towns came together for five days of rides, games and funnel cakes, beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

Taking occupancy of Walnut and Christopher streets and extending onto Kaveny Field, businesses from all over North Jersey filled the open fields.

Vendors, some familiar faces and some new, took part in the carnival.

Pat’s Italian Sausage, a family business, has taken part for 20 years. Originally from Lyndhurst, Pat Derosn and his family started their food business in 1976. 

“It started with cotton candy, popcorn, stuff like that,” said Marylin Derosn, Pat’s sister, who runs the adjacent food cart that sells funnel cakes and fried Oreos. “And then he went into doing London broil sandwiches for a while.” 

Food isn’t the only attraction at the carnival. Kushimuyu, a business run by Atick Paguay and his family, sells handcrafted indigenous goods from Ecuador. When translated in English, the name Kushimuyu means “happy seed.” Happiness is evoked by the assortment of colors that the family has laid out in various dreamcatchers, bracelets and woven bags. This was the family’s first year at the carnival, and Paguay said he was “excited to expose others to the art and Ecuadorian culture.”

Along with the vendor booths and rides, fairgoers were able to enjoy live music provided by such artists as Johnny Silvestry, Andrea Nies and Tommy Scala from the hit show “The Voice.” 

When they weren’t in line for rides, like the “Scotter,” children and teenagers flocked to DeeWorks Face Painting, where they received replicas of wings, flowers or cartoon characters delicately drawn on their face or hands. 

The owner of DeeWorks Face Painting, Dee Spencer Bush, left, with artist Chandra Mustafaa, center, and line manager Renee Grey.
The owner of DeeWorks Face Painting, Dee Spencer Bush, left, with artist Chandra Mustafaa, center, and line manager Renee Grey.

Dee Spencer Bush, the owner, was taking part in the St. Sebastian Feast for the first time. She is also the resident face painter at Turtle Back Zoo.

Jill Reich of Montclair has brought her family to the carnival for the last seven years. “I don’t look forward to it at all,” she said jokingly as her children stood in line for rides, “but my kids do.”