30th annual St. Ann carnival celebrates community

On a hot Saturday night in September, you may expect the residents of Coppell to be at home, at a park with their friends or at a restaurant eating dinner. But once a year, hundreds of the citizens of Coppell spend their Saturday evening, packed into the parking lot of St. Ann Catholic Parish for the annual St. Ann Community Carnival.

The smell  of funnel cakes, corn dogs and sweat permeates through the air. The colorful lights flickering off the rides offer light to see the people around you. People stand inches away from their friends and shout to make their voices heard over the sound of rides and the constant screaming of attendees. Clumps of people  stand in the line for a ride with minimal space for others to walk through.

“It is the one day of the year where you can run into people you have not seen in years,” Coppell High School junior Nishi Patel said. “I loved the feeling of walking around and then hearing someone call my name and when I turn around, it’s the girl I have not seen since middle school.”

The carnival ran for three days, Sept. 8-10, on Friday from 5-11 p.m., on Saturday from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-6 p.m.

Despite the weather in the high 90s, the carnival was crowded and it was difficult to walk 10 steps without seeing a familiar face.

“It is just the place to be,” Patel said. “It was hot but it was still so much fun. Eventually you will have such a good time that you do not even realize how hot it is. My friends and I had been waiting to go to the carnival for weeks and I could not wait to see everyone go on the rides and just have a fun night.”

Inside the ministry building in the northeast corner of the lot, booths are set up by local shop owners selling crafts they made. From jewelry to soaps to wood carvings of Catholic figures, the craft shop displays the talent found in Coppell. 

The ferris wheel returns to the St. Ann Catholic Parish Community Carnival after a four-year absence, debuting a fluorescent display of red, blue and purple lights. The 30th annual St. Ann’s carnival took place Sept. 8-10 in the parking lot of the church and provided entertainment, games, rides and food to attendees. (Marli Field)

“I think the carnival is a good way to bring everyone in Coppell together,” CHS sophomore Johan Padayatti said. “It’s like a local version of the Texas State Fair. Knowing you are going to see a ton of people you know, having a fun time while on the rides and eating some good food. It makes me feel more connected to the community and the people around me.”

Under a large white tent known as the Entertainment Tent, east of all rides and food vendors, is a cornucopia of tables surrounding and a stage. While visitors can sit, eat or rest, different musicians are able to perform on the stage. 

On Saturday night, the local band Maxton and the Maxtones performed some classic rock songs. The concert was followed by St. Ann director of children’s and youth ministry Joey Scancella performing songs of worship. 

On Sunday afternoon, different booths lined up around the perimeter of the tent. The booths had the name of countries on the top with a 10 foot-long table of artifacts representing the culture of the country. Performing on the stage were people of those countries, singing or dancing to songs of their respective nations. 

“Seeing all the little kids there having the time of their life reminded me of when I would go to the carnival when I was little,” CHS junior Rebekah Seymour said. “I couldn’t help but think about when they are older and still come to the carnival and have just as much fun as they used to.”

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Originally posted 2023-09-15 17:48:28.