Queen of Heaven Carnival Comes Back with a Bang

J.M. Lesinski

A shot of the rides at Queen of Heaven carnival in West Seneca, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

Local favorite event, the Queen of Heaven carnival, returned to the community last night with a massive turnout. The Queen of Heaven carnival is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this weekend in West Seneca, New York, making the resuming of this year’s festivities even more special after having to postpone last year’s event.

With the fateful June 17 update and lifting of COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions, the Queen of Heaven carnival was pleased to announce that the 2021 festival would not just take place but have no capacity restrictions in place whatsoever. Masks, of course, are recommended for those unvaccinated.

Free at the gate and open to the public, The Queen of Heaven carnival runs Saturday July 10 from noon to midnight and Sunday July 11 from noon to eight in the evening. The festival is flaunting three exciting raffle events this year, including the fortieth anniversary sweepstakes, a $21,000 giveaway, and continuous 50/50 split raffles throughout the weekend.

Jeremy Hoyle and the Strictly Hip playing the beer tent at Queen of Heaven carnival in West Seneca, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

Live music is also back at the Queen of Heaven carnival, with Jeremy Hoyle and the Strictly Hip having set the standard for the weekend on Friday night. Coming up on Saturday July 10 will be Hit N’ Run playing from seven in the evening until eleven-thirty. Sunday will feature two bands: Nick Battistella playing from one-thirty to three in the afternoon and Kickstart Rumble playing from three-thirty in the afternoon until eight in the evening.

One of the few Western New York area community festivals other than the Erie County Fair to have amusement rides, the Queen of Heaven carnival went with Hammerl Amusements as the amusement ride provider for this year’s event.

At the carnival, Hammerl is offering ride tickets for one dollar a piece, or a one price wristband that covers rides for all of the following times: Saturday from twelve-thirty to five in the afternoon or six to ten in the evening and Sunday from twelve-thirty to four in the afternoon or four to eight in the evening. Most rides cost a minimum of three tickets, so the armband is worth the cost after about seven rides.

A shot of the midway at Queen of Heaven carnival in West Seneca, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

“The rides were in good shape,” said festival attendee and local Cheektowaga resident Ashley R. Johnson. “None of them made the unnerving creaking noises you get with amusement rides, the lines were always moving, even with the rain I think it was a great first night.”

Across the midway, a number of amazing vendors and food trucks are available for those looking for a tasty bite to eat this weekend. Angelo’s Italian Pastries was on-site with some amazing cannoli and Italian desserts, as was local favorite Captain Mike’s Seafood, offering the only seafood on the midway. Smokin Oak was on-site as well offering their unique array of jerky and toasted nuts, as was Peter Piper’s Pickle, a unique local fried pickle vendor.

“The Queen of Heaven carnival had some amazing ribbon fries,” Johnson also noted. “It was a really fun atmosphere, the band was good, and I was really impressed with how clean they kept it. There was no litter anywhere.”

The deep-fried booths are all there, from fried dough to ribbon fries, and pretty much any deep-fried candy bar one can imagine. A Dippin Dots booth remains set up closely behind the church for fans of the elusive frozen treat, Total Dogs Food truck is parked close to the beer tent for the hot dog lovers, and Pop-In-Bob’s Kettle Corn is cooking up the sweetest popcorn one can imagine not too far up the midway.

On Sunday July 11 at the close of the Queen of Heaven carnival, Chiavetta’s Barbecue Chicken will be available at the start of the festival until sold out. Diners can drive up from Mill Road or dine in at the Parish Center on the carnival grounds. Chiavetta’s dinners are fourteen dollars and include a half chicken, homemade potato salad, salad, roll and butter, loganberry, and dessert.

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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