Tents go up for Marian Days as site is prepped for festival

Cleaning and improvements underway
Tents go up for Marian Days as site is prepped for festival

Marian Days is a religious reunion at the Vietnamese seminary in Carthage that draws 50 to 100 thousand people. The four-day event officially begins August 1st. But preparation at the site is well underway.

Crews were pushing up poles and tying down ropes to secure them Wednesday at the Congregation of Mother Co-Redemptrix in Carthage. Up to two hundred tents are going up on the grounds where the Marian Days festival will begin in two weeks. Tents where thousands of cots will be placed for pilgrims to camp. Fr. John Paul Tran explained, “All the hotels 4 or 5 cities around here are all booked.”

It’s a reunion and religious event for the Vietnamese who fled their war torn country decades ago. Fr. Tran said the celebration is rooted, “In thanksgiving for bringing them to a freedom place.”

New sidewalks are going in so that priests can more easily deliver communion at masses attended in previous years by up to 100 thousand faithful. That’s also why there’s a jumbo-tron so those who can’t sit close can watch. And now something new. Fr. John Paul said, “This year, I plan to have an FM channel so anywhere they sit they can turn the FM channel and they can hear the conferences.”

Crews are replacing bricks with stamped concrete around statues. One of many repairs happening because of donations from the pilgrims themselves. Fr. John Paul said, “Every year, they donate money, and we use that money to make this place a better place to come every year.”

Police already put up fencing and will close down surrounding streets July 27th as campers arrive early. Many come by bus so pedestrian safety is important.
The chief says it’s a time for list checking.”Did we order enough golf carts? Did we? Scheduling is a huge nightmare cause again, it starts small ramps up and goes down,” said Chief Greg Dagnan.
To cover the city and the grounds takes the regular Carthage police force and hiring . Up to 40 officers from other agencies
Dagnan explained, “The city pays for part of it. So the fathers reimburse us for 75 percent of our expenses for security for the event.’

While the chief worries about safety, others worry about beautifying the place that will soon be home to a celebration of faith, food, family and culture.

The Marian Days festival runs from August first through the fourth on the campus of the Congregation of Mother Co-Redemptrix. Fr. John Paul said they will also be selling copies of a documentary produced about the festival by Ozark Public Television at this year’s event.

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