Growing up Catholic, one of the staples of my summer and fall was the church festival. From enjoying underage gambling and winning a whopping $20 in Bingo, to having some of the best meals known to man, to the polka Masses, I’ve always loved a great festival.
Now as a priest, I’ve been blessed to be at my fourth parish where the festival is a big yearly event. While our parish festival might not be on the level of Leprechaun Days, it is a very big deal. You’ve probably seen all of our publicity in the bulletin, or the signs up and down area streets to promote it. I believe we also rented the Good Year Blimp to fly over the Bank for the Vikings opener to promote it too.
Well, perhaps that last part didn’t happen, but if you have been in the dark or on the fence about the festival, I hope you’ll consider joining us this upcoming Friday or Saturday. There’s still time to volunteer too.
We’ll be getting underway Friday night with an Oktoberfest theme. Naturally this will feature brats, and we’ll also have pretzels, beer and polka music until 10 p.m. We’ll have pull tabs, raffles and bingo as well, along with games for kids and a Craft Fair.
The festival will continue Saturday night with an Irish theme, starting with 150th Anniversary Kick Off Mass at 5 pm, and then move to our Social Hall with a Chicken Dinner and Irish music, along with raffles, pull tabs, bingo, kid’s activities and the craft fair.
Our Prize raffle will feature beautifully made quilts, framed photographs, and many Craft Fair items. Our Cash raffle will feature two $500 prizes, a $750 prize, one $1000 prize and a grand prize of $2500. We also had a bonus for the parishioner selling the most tickets of $500. The drawing was August 28th, and the winner was Karen Leiferman, congratulations!
On the one hand, our festival is a big fundraiser for our parish. Monies raised from the festival help us to provide more ministries to our parish.
But on the other, just as the Minnesota State Fair is known as the “Great Minnesota Get-Together” where families and friends often meet up and people connect with one another, the same is true for the parish. The festival gives us a chance to come together and get to know better some of the familiar faces we see each week at Mass. It also gives us a chance to celebrate our parish and is a great event for everyone. So too is it a great way to showcase our parish, which is why we are promoting the festival so much in our community. Hopefully this will result in some new faces joining Saint Joe’s as well. (I even found a flyer at my doorstep. Needless to say, I’ll be there. I think Kirby is interested too.)
Bridget Samson and a small army have been working for months to gear up for our festival. They have been contacting sponsors, coming up with new ideas, getting the food ordered, and working so hard for this event. Thank you, Bridget & Committee! A big shout out to the Harvest Festival committee: Maureen & Bob Sturm, Doris McCarty, Katie Johnson, Maria Weber, Wayne Rychwalski, Carmen & Dave Johnson, Tony Brand, Rick Chodek, Pam Keuler and the late Gene Gergen. With their help under Bridget’s guidance is making sure the Festival will be a very fun and memorable weekend.
I look forward to being there both nights (brats and chicken with all the fixings? Yes please!). Thank you for coming out to this event for our parish. What a great way to start the celebration of our 150th year as a parish which we’ll celebrate next year at this time.
See you Friday and Saturday!
God Bless ~Fr. Paul