Music, Fun Dominate Festival

ST. MARYS — A local church festival took over a block of town this weekend.

Holy Rosary Festival — the biggest fundraiser for the school — kicked off Friday night and ran through Sunday night along the Holy Rosary church and school grounds.

“We started setting up on Wednesday,” said Rob Menker with the Holy Rosary Festival Committee. “Don Glaser does all the wiring.”

He noted the attendance for the festival had been a bit lower than in the past.

“It’s been pretty good,” Menker said. “It has been a little off from last year.”

He noted Friday’s attendance was lower than usual — he wasn’t sure what the cause would have been.

“I don’t know if it’s too many things going on in the area or what,” Menker said. “Last night we had a great night because of weather. I don’t what’s going on. We were down at least a couple of thousand dollars. Last night was good — Friday night was low — but overall it’s been great.”

The festival brought in various music acts and as for main act entertainment, Free Rider was the headlining band on Friday night, while McGuffey Lane took the stage on Saturday night and Nashville Crush rounded out the weekend Sunday evening.

“It’s for the school,” Menker said. “It all goes back to the kids to offset the tuition. I think we raise between $400 and $500 per student, so we save mom and dad that much money, which is pretty substantial, I think, just in one event.”

In addition to concessions, there were approximately 13 kids games as well as adult games such as showdown poker.

A new event at the festival this year was the beer mug shuffle.

“We have the beer mug shuffle,” Menker said.

“It’s a shuffleboard where you slide the mug, and you have to get it in the dot. Last night, a lady won $178. We split a $344 pot. That was pretty cool — she was excited.”

Menker noted the entire process for the festival takes about a week.

“We start on Tuesday, and we end on Tuesday,” he said.

Menker estimated it takes at least 100 volunteers to run the entire festival.

“It takes months of planning,” he said. “A couple weeks after this festival ends, we’ll go over what we can do for next year, changes to make it better.”

Menker noted a group of volunteers who have been especially helpful this year.

“Dean Axe has been instrumental in helping,” he said.

“Amy Dues, Don Glaser, Cara Young, John Folk who does the 5K run, Jim Christman does the artwork, Dan Uhlenhake.”

Holy Rosary Festival, Menker estimated, has gone on at least 50 or 60 years.

“Roman Severt started this, and that’s why we’ve continued to build it,” he said.

“He put tons of hours into it. He built it up, and he built all the stuff here — all the racks and those types of things. So I want to keep it going for him.”

Severt, Menker said, started the festival as a picnic.

“It started out as a family picnic and grew from there,” he said.

The Holy Rosary Garage Sale kicked off the festival a week before this weekend.

“That’s always a week earlier,” Menker said. “They made $7,000, $8,000, and all that stuff is donated by the parishioners.”

The entire festival, including the sale, he noted, is just to benefit the children.

“Just to help the kids — to fund the school,” he said. “We don’t have enough funds to run the school without doing fundraisers, so that’s the main reason behind it.”