When the Carnival started years ago, I thought it would be an interesting fundraiser for the parish and trusted our pastor’s idea that it would be a good way to reach out to the community. I never expected it to be as wonderful as it has become. Even the name, “Community Carnival” seemed generic and trite at the time but I now view it as a the perfect title. The community really does come together. People trickle in from the mall, having seen the giant Ferris wheel over the highway. Parishioners are there at all times: volunteering, being dunked in the dunk tank, eating, walking around and chatting with each other. The music covers a long span of time and geography, from Philly’s Motown to Seattle’s garage bands. I leave exhausted at the end of the night after volunteering, drinking a beer, and picking up some leftover food. I feel connected to the world and at peace; that no matter what else I do with my life or what poor choices I made in the past, for at least a few hours, I was exactly where God needed me to be.