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Norfolk church celebrates community with 30th Annual Summer Social

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NORFOLK — A long line of hungry neighbors and churchgoers extended out the door of the Visitation Parish Center at the Church of the Visitation, 3 Morris St., waiting to try several different ethnic dishes during the 30th annual Summer Social on Sunday.

The community came together between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to celebrate another year together and contribute to the church.

“It’s a church fundraiser, but it’s also intended to be a social event to draw people together in the summer,” said the Rev. John R. Murphy, who’s been leading the congregation for two years. “Norfolk is a community with richness in the ethnic origins of the people. We try to highlight the background of the community with the foods that we share.”

And varied, it is — Hungarian, French, Italian, Irish, Mexican and American foods spread across the tables, filling the parish center with delicious aromas.

Nancy E. Demo, Norwood, has been chairwoman of the social for three years in a row and a member of the church since 1990. She said the event began 30 years ago as an ice cream social, but since has grown into a much bigger event with about 200 people participating.

“It has evolved into a summer social and festival of foods,” she said. “They thought it would be nice for our neighbors to share their cultural menu.”

Ms. Demo said the event is a lot of work for everybody to put together and she’s been helping out for more than 20 years.

“A lot of what we do benefits the whole community, not just the church,” she said. “A lot of people use our facility other than just church people.”

Under a large white tent in the churchyard, people sat at tables enjoying their meals while listening to live music from the Sweet Adelines Acapella North Chorus and Ray and Friends, a band of two fiddles and two guitars.

Many adults and children enjoyed the “pastor plunge” game that was set up in the yard, encouraging people to throw balls at a target to release the church leader from his perch into an icy pool of water.

The Rev. Andrew J. Amyot retired from the Church of the Visitation after leading the parish for 17 years.

“It’s wonderful to see the number of people and it’s nice to get together,” he said. “It gathers the community together, but it draws from other communities, as well.”

Margaret Shepard was managing the beverages during the social.

She said she’s lived in Norfolk for 73 years.

“Some of the people you don’t see for a long time and it’s just wonderful to see them out,” she said. “Everybody has a wonderful time.”


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