Festival Beats Back Storms

ST. MARYS — The annual Holy Rosary Festival battled rain for the second year in a row, but it had little effect on the festivities.
Friday night opened the festival with the food stands, rides and bingo.
“This festival is about friends and bingo — whether you win or not,” Haylee Kill said.
Nick Wilson, an annual entertainer at the festival, combined talents with Troy Perry this year. Their band, Nixonperry, kicked off the entertainment. The Earthquakers closed out the night in the entertainment tent.
“I came here for the food ... and the Earthquakers,” Jessica Jeffries told The Evening Leader. “They rocked.”
Saturday morning brought the 5K run/walk and the chili cook off. Bobby Wingett, an avid chili cooker, brought a piece of the South into his chili. His bold decision made him the winner of the cook-off.
“I make a true Texas chili,” Wingett said.
Peggy Hastreiter, chair of the competition, touted Wingett’s decision.
“He stayed true to his chili principle,” she said.
The rest of the day was packed with a kiddie tractor pull, the cornhole tournament and K of C chicken dinners. Saturday night closed with Nashville Crush performing in the entertainment tent.
Along with Chuck O Luck, bingo and the Cake Wheel, the novelty booth gave festival- goers the opportunity to win prizes, which were donated by parish members and local business owners. Prizes included gift baskets, a bread maker, a coffee pot, lawn chairs and a variety of other novelties. Booth attendees bought “tips,” which were pulled to reveal numbers. If a number on the tip matched the number in front of a prize, the owner of the tip won the prize. There was also a drawing to win larger prizes like a tree donated by Cisco Lawn Service and a grill.
“The novelty booth is going above and beyond expectations due to the generosity of parish members and local businesses. Thanks to all who helped,” said Mary Brown, chair of the novelty booth.
Cromer United Amusements opened the Ferris Wheel, the King Swing, the Whip and the rest of their rides again Sunday afternoon. Lininger Ponies also brought life to the festival streets. Caramel apples, funnel cakes, French fries, brats, hamburgers and pizza were only a few of the many food choices found at various stands. Bubba and Hoss warmed up the final afternoon for Free Rider to close the entertainment Sunday evening.
The final activity of the festival was the grand prize drawing in which a cash prize of $2,500 was awarded.
Even through the damp weather, another year of the Holy Rosary Festival gave the community an opportunity to gather and celebrate the beginning of the festival season.
“It’s been great,” Hastreiter said. “Even with the rain, people still came out. “People are really supporting us.”