Fall Fest, art show at St. Joseph’s

Published 8:28 pm Saturday, October 21, 2006

St. Joseph Fall Fest started out as a fund raiser. An October Fest led by Mary Bennett, Beverly Cullen, Lucille Delaney, Beverly’s son Rick Cullen and the late Dianne Boyer. Fr. Clark Bearden was the pastor at the time and he saw the need to raise funds for a new church building. Fr. Ramon-Landry was assigned to the church just before the first Fall Fest took place.

Now, in it’s seventh year the Fall Fest will be held at the Pearl River County Fairgrounds behind the National Guard Armory on Hwy 26, Saturday, Oct. 28 from the 8:30 opening ceremony to the final drawings at 5 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

Last year the church held a modified version due to Hurricane Katrina. This year the church looks forward to the sights and sounds of Sweet Water Junction, Na Na Sha, and Jones Unleashed, along with the comedic brilliance of Mike Strecker. There will be a turkey calling and hog calling contest and plenty of Karaoke for those who think they can sing. Plenty of food and drinks will be on hand, as well as, crafts and vendors. A drawing for $1,000 will be held, and a other drawings for 15 huge prizes. A Silent Auction, Classic Car Show and Art Show and Sale are planned. There will be games for the children and fun to be had — come rain or shine!

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The prizes, generous donations, have included such things as livestock to auction, bar-be-que for four, and a hand-made quilt. This year’s big-ticket item is a trip to Ireland with private accommodations in someone’s personal home.

What started out as food, fun, and games has turned into much more. Rock climbing walls, balloon rides, quilt raffles, art show, and live entertainment have been featured. The Fall Fest has seen “Elvis”, “Etta James”, “The Blues Brothers”, and even Santa Claus. This is a great family event on day only — all day long.

And the need is still growing. St. Joseph’s is a small Catholic Missionary Church, whose mother church is in Lumberton. They share Parish Priest Fr. Patrick O’Shaughnessy and rely on members such as Deacon Harold Gaule and Pastoral Associate Mrs. Katie Murphy. Their building is surrounded with a red brick facade, their altar suffered fire damage the Easter before Katrina struck, and despite being on a hill the facilities flooded during the storm. They still suffer from mis-matched chairs and their pews have been around for more than one service. Since Katrina St. Joseph’s membership has doubled from 108 registered families to over 225. They are literally splitting at the seams.

So come on out and celebrate with Father Pat and the members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for this worthy cause. Enjoy Louis Munch’s Cajun jambalaya or grab something off the grill. Play games with the family, admire the antique cars and trucks, or just hang out for the big drawings.

Visit the Art Show inside the confines of the church building, with over 700 pieces of artwork from Mississippi and Louisiana artist. Of course stay for the good music and laughs.

With the success of that first Fall Fest the Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi gave his blessing on St. Joseph’s Fall Fest and a Capital Campaign Committee was formed. The ladies of the Altar society got the ball rolling to relinquish the reigns to a chairman and co-chairman to organize the event. Joe Didier and Liz Pope have graciously guided the preparations this year.

For more information about crafts and booth applications contact Barbara Didier at 601-795-4004. For more information on the Art Show and Sale, contact Kay Kammer at 601-795-4883, and for more information on the Classic Car Show contact Joe Didier at 601-795-4004.

Perhaps next year the St. Joseph’s Fall Fest will be even bigger — no, bigger can’t be imagined, just better!