ST. MARYS — An annual festival kicks off Friday, netting entertainment, food and rides for area residents.
Holy Rosary Festival officially opens at 5 p.m., and it will run through Sunday evening.
“This is for the school,” said Rob Menker, a member of the Holy Rosary Festival Steering Committee. “All the proceeds go back to the school.”
The funds go toward operating expenses.
“We could not operate the school without the money raised from the festival,” Menker said.
This year’s festival boasts multiple local bands — NixonPerry, The Earthquakers, Nashville Crush, Bubba and Hoss and Free Rider.
“They should come for the great entertainment,” Menker said. “We’ve got the best entertainment around.”
Residents can also come and snack on classic Holy Rosary Festival fare.
“We’ve got great food,” Menker said. “There’s a company coming in doing kettle corn, there’s homemade ice cream, cotton candy. The lunch stand with brats, sauerkraut and German potato salad. Plus, we have our hamburgers, which are the best hamburgers in town.”
In addition to the $5 four-piece chicken dinners that will be available for purchase and include applesauce and a roll, attendees can also purchase buckets of fried chicken, which will be available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again at 4 p.m. Sunday. A 12-piece bucket will cost $11, and a 20-piece bucket is $18.
This year’s festival will also include the third annual Holy Rosary Chili Cook-off, which will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday with judging at noon. Official rules are available at HolyRosaryFestival.org, and those interested in participating can call Shelly Grothause at 419-934-4493 or Peg Hastreiter at 419-733-0279.
“The rides are new this year,” Menker said, adding Cromer United Amusements will be providing the rides. “Cromer’s bringing in a ferris wheel.”
He added the rides are more geared toward teenagers this year.
“We’ll have more of a variety than we’ve had in the past,” Menker said.
Pre-sale ride tickets are currently available at Kroger, Pantry Pride, First Financial Bank, Minster Bank, People’s Bank and Mercer Savings. Tickets purchased in advance are $10 for a coupon good for 12 tickets. Wrist bands purchased in advance are $15 for a coupon good for one day (from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday or Sunday). Wrist bands purchased the day of will cost $20.
The festival will also feature a variety of kids’ games and adult games, including the popular cake wheel.
“The cakes are all homemade,” Menker said.
The kiddie tractor pull will also be making a return this year. It will be on Saturday, with registration at 1:30 p.m. and the pulling on Pear Street beginning at 2 p.m.
He noted there will be volunteers selling raffle tickets on the grounds for various prizes that will be drawn Sunday evening, including a $2,500 cash prize.
“We are getting more and more people coming to the festival every year,” Menker said. “That’s wonderful. It helps keep the school going.”
Schedule of Events
5 p.m. All stands open
6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Bingo
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. NixonPerry (Nick Wilson and Troy Perry)
8:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. The Earthquakers
7:30 a.m. 5K Registration
8:30 a.m. 5K Run/Walk
10 a.m. Chili Cook-off
noon Chili Cook-off and Awards
noon Most stands open
2 p.m. Kiddie Tractor Pull
2 p.m. Cornhole Tournament
4 p.m. Chicken dinners
6 p.m. Adult games open
6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Bingo
8:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. Nashville Crush
noon All stands open
2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bubba and Hoss
4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bingo
6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free Rider
9:30 p.m. Grand prize drawing