Camille Miritello was brought up attending St. Boniface Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Sea Cliff.
She married her husband, Neil, there and their children were baptized and took communion there.
Her family stopped going to the church for 15 years. But when Pastor Bob Romeo took over five years ago, a letter he sent asking them to return pulled them back in.
Since then, she has volunteered at the St. Boniface Feast by the Shore, a four-day celebration at Tappen Beach in Glenwood Landing, which has run for almost 50 years.
“It’s just been really great. It builds fellowship between members of the parish,” Miritello, of Old Brookville, said.
Romeo said the money raised from the feast goes toward putting together meal baskets for those in need during the holidays, youth activities at the church and sending out gift cards to community members.
“This allows the parish to share their gifts, volunteering to give them a sense of ownership of their community,” he said of the event.
Lifelong church member Mary Ellen Kerr said the feast is its major fundraiser of the year, with close to 200 volunteers helping out and thousands enjoying the live entertainment, games, rides and home-cooked food.
“It really builds the whole atmosphere of community in all aspects of life, rather than solely in prayer,” said Kerr, 52, of Sea Cliff. “We used to have it in the church’s parking lot, now we’ve really built it up.”
Kerry Araoz, of Bayside, watched as her 4-year-old daughter, Gracie, spun around on the Fire Engine ride, in front of her 3-year-old niece Morgan Sullivan.
“It’s our first time here. It’s just gorgeous out and we’re near the water,” Araoz said. “My daughter loves it, so that’s really all that matters.”
Larry Krieb has belonged to the church for 35 years, and has volunteered for the event just as long, serving what he jokingly claims as “the world’s best” sausage and pepper and meatball heroes.
“We’re going through a lot of food this year. It has to be a record,” said Krieb, 59, of Sea Cliff. “It’s a great day out for the family and you can ride cheap, eat cheap. It’s not exactly Woodstock, but it’s as close as we’ll ever get in Sea Cliff.”
Sunday is the last day of the feast and it will run from 1 to 6 p.m.