Monkfest Draws a Crowd

Activities include Dunk-a-Monk


Jonathan Dulce

Hot weather and mostly sunny skies favored the festivities at Monkfest this year.

Hundreds gathered on the field outside Leahy House Sunday for Monkfest, the annual summer celebration sponsored by Newark Abbey.

Under sunny skies, crowds gathered under tents and across the grass to meet other members of the community and consume grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and delicious meals of fried chicken, ribs, and side dishes prepared by volunteers.

Br. Simon Peter Clayton, O.S.B, who organized Monkfest for the first time this year, added a new element — a dunk tank — with the help of Yannie Lopez SY.   “As the outgoing person I am, I said, ‘Let’s get a dunk tank!” Yannie said. “It was the first thing that came to mind.”

For hours, students, staff, and visitors lobbed tennis balls at a stubborn lever in the hopes they would cause their favorite monk or teacher or friend to be doused. At $1 a pop, most said it was worth it.

Kitta MacPherson
Br. Asiel Rodriguez was the first volunteer for the Dunk-a-Monk tank.

Participants in the dunk tank included Br. Asiel Rodriguez, O.S.B, Mr. Sylvers Owusu ‘03, Cory Arias-Cespedes SY,  Jiquwil Wilkes SY, Toby Chibuisi SY, Anthony Gaustch UD1, Claude Knight UD1, and Yannie himself. 

The activity was conceived as a fundraiser for a special cause, bringing in over $150. 

Monkfest is celebrating its 20th year, according to Fr. Albert Holtz, O.S.B, one of its original organizers. A group of monks said it would be wonderful to have a picnic for the families of St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, as well as alumni, friends of the abbey, and Newark neighbors and it grew from there, Fr. Al said.

In addition to the plentiful food, Monkfest organizers also hosted a bounce house for visiting children.

Many attendings said it was enjoyable to see so many people of different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities enjoying food and company together.

“ I come here for the community,’ said Justis Worrell SY. “We get to see new people that are not even related to us or even related to the students here. It is full of friends, family and it’s just a community of love.”