The family tradition will continue this weekend at the Perfetti family home, which will once again be transformed into a carnival ground, with proceeds benefiting the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The carnival is now in its eighth year, an event that was started as a way to help their daughter Julia, now 13, who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis 10 years ago, and will take place on Saturday, July 9, from noon to 4 p.m.
“We started it originally as a way to involve the kids and make it fun, especially since everything was serious around Julia,” said Laura Perfetti, who has four children, including Julia. “This allows her siblings to participate in something that can help her.”
Proceeds from the event go to CTF to research the disease and hopefully find a cure. But Perfetti said her daughter and the family benefit from raising awareness as well.
“This also helps to take away the mystery surrounding it. People can ask questions and all of the information is right here,” said Perfetti.
The annual event has become something the community looks forward to. She said people start asking her for a date six months in advance and plan their vacations around it. They always plan it for the first Saturday after July 4, so people can count on a set date. Last year, about 500 people attended throughout the day, raising $7,000, and they expect the same turn out this Saturday. The family’s home at 57 Sugar Maple Lane in Glen Cove has a half-acre fenced-in yard, a perfect place for kids to freely play the carnival games and indulge in the food all day.
Because of its longevity, the carnival is at a point where the Perfettis don’t have to do as much soliciting for donations, but rather, businesses come to them.
“The local businesses have been very nice. They contact us telling us they want to donate,” said Perfetti.
Chef Jeanine DiMenna from The View Grill has been donating all of the hot dogs and hamburgers for the past few years and Vito’s Ristorante and Pizzeria took initiative by donating proceeds of pizza sales on its anniversary date. This year, the store held the fundraiser on Saturday, June 25.
The Perfettis also have dozens of friends who come out to volunteer either on the day of or the day before, to help with set-up. The carnival itself includes a dunk tank, popcorn, Gooseberry Grove ice cream, bounce houses and games. Another tradition is the homemade games. Her husband, Anthony, and children make up a new game every year and build it. The kids, ages 16, 13, 9 and 8, each have a job to do during the carnival and enjoy it.
“It’s really for them, to feel like they can do something for Julia,” said Perfetti. “It empowers them.”
Donations can be made at the entrance for games, food and raffles, starting at $10. A $100 donation includes raffle tickets and as much fun, food and games for the day for the family.
Perfetti is also organizing a dinner for the CTF, which will be held at Brookville Country Club on Oct. 22, an event that brings in about $100,000 for the foundation. As a mother of four and a teacher, she has a lot on her plate. But, she said, after all these years of organizing, she knows what needs to be done and when it needs to get done, so it’s not as stressful.
“You get into a rhythm and the whole thing becomes a part of life,” she said.