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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Over 1,000 attend festival

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Carter Fenske prepared for a successful go at the dime toss at Sunday's Old-Fashioned Festival at St. Mary's in Pierce City. [Photo by Kristin Nama]
A large crowd gathered Saturday and Sunday at St. Mary's Church for its 23rd Old-Fashioned Festival. Food, music and games were on the agenda along with the usual "trash and treasures" and a new feature, a purse auction.

The festival kicked off Saturday night with live music from Mark Chapman. About 400 people were expected for the Sunday dinner, which is put on by the Parish Council of Catholic Women.

The festival-goers enjoyed warm weather, and Marjorie Layton, chairperson of the event, estimates the crowd numbered 1,000 over the two days.

A lot of work goes into producing the festival each year. It is an effort of the entire parish, Layton said. However, the festivities are not intended to be limited just to the church members. Layton said everyone is welcome and that is one reason why the name was changed from "picnic" to "festival" in recent years.
Returning features this year included the popular duck race in the creek, the cake walk, bingo, the beer garden and "trash and treasures." Mildred Witt is in charge of organizing the "trash and treasures" booth, which offers donated items for sale. They collect a large number of items for only about a week before the festival each year, Mildred said. They donate unsold items to Crosslines the following week. The booth has raised about $800 each of last couple of years for St. Mary's.
The festival is the main fundraiser for the parish each year. A new idea to raise money appeared this year in the form of a purse auction. Maura Sparks organized the silent auction of donated purses.
"It is the first time we have tried this," she said. Festival-goers were encouraged to put their name and a price bid on the card attached to each purse. The high bidder purchased the hand bag at the end of the day Sunday.
Laura Saffer was selling chances on the duck race Sunday. She said they had a little over 200 ducks available for the 4 p.m. race in the creek. This is the third year they have done the race as part of the festival, Saffer said. She added that everybody walks over to the creek at race time and cheers on "their" duck.
Along with the Sunday dinner, beer garden and hamburger stand, a familiar concession stand at the festival is the one selling homemade ice cream. Dorothy Witt has been in charge of the booth every year for 23 years, she said. Everyone brings different kinds of ice cream and they usually try to get 20 gallons to sell. Of course she does not make all the ice cream herself. "I have my 'old faithful' list" of people who make ice cream every year," Dorothy said.

The flavors available this year were vanilla, strawberry, orange sherbet, chocolate mint, tutti frutti, butter pecan and Reese's peanut butter cup. Dorothy made vanilla ice cream this year.

She used to make a strawberry-banana-nut ice cream because long-time St. Mary's parishioner Leo Radke loved it. He would come back to the booth three or four times every year for it, Dorothy said. She quit making that flavor after Radke passed away. It is complicated to make, and "without Leo it is not worth it," Dorothy said.

Randy and Melissa Bailey and Dale and Bonnie Parrigon run the hamburger stand at the festival and have been doing it for three or four years, Melissa said. When asked how many hamburgers they hoped to sell, Bonnie replied, "all of them." Melissa said that would probably be about 500 hamburgers.

Tickets could be purchased for the kids games that included the dime toss and duck pond where children could win small prizes.

Tickets were also sold for prize drawings that included: $1,000 in cash; five $100 Walmart gift cards; $100 worth of Stanley products and $50 cash; $100 gift certificate toward the purchase of tires at Grande Tire and $50 cash; a 19-inch flat screen television; a plant stand and patio fire pit and $50 cash; a 26-inch boy's bicycle and a 20-inch girl's bicycle; and $200 cash.

Jim Larkin manned the bingo tent Sunday. He has been in charge of bingo at the festival every year for six or eight years, he said. St. Mary's occasionally has bingo at other events but he said this was the big fundraiser of the year.

"You can win some money," Larkin said, as the prize for each round of bingo was half the pot. " And it is a pretty good money maker."

St. Mary's Old-Fashioned Festival is held each year on the first Saturday and Sunday in June.

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