New Hope is the theme of the annual St. Anthony of Padua harvest festival coming up this Saturday and Sunday.
The theme honors the Catholic Church’s new pope who was assumed the post just before Easter this year. Pope Francis not only is the first Jesuit to take over the seat of St. Peter, but also the first to take on the name of St. Francis of Assisi and the first to hail from the Americas.
The theme was selected for this year’s festival “because the new Pope brings New Hope to the church; we’re open to the new changes in the church,” explained Sister Ann Venita Britto who, as in previous years, designed the logo that appears in several festival souvenir items such as T-shirts and tote bags. The log shows a peace dove with an olive branch on its beak being welcomed by a pair of open hands.
The souvenir T-shirts and polo shirts – in blue, charcoal gray, red, yellow, and chartreuse – as well as the tote bags are now on sale. They may be purchased after each of the Sunday Masses in the vestibule of the church, or during regular business hours at the ministry office which is the building just west of the church. Business hours Monday to Thursday are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The harvest festival is a multi-faceted extravaganza with a plethora of entertainment, fun, food and games that the entire family can enjoy, from young kids to grandparents and even great-grandparents.
Food booth regular offerings guaranteed to tantalize every palate will be there – ranging from Asian foods such as piping hot lumpia (eggrolls), tacos, and pizza along with such regular festival favorites that includes hot dogs, chili dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy. For adults, there will be the perennial beer garden, a corner of festival grounds that is cordoned off.
A new scrumptious offering this year for discriminating taste buds are Nothing Bundt Cakes with flavors that include the very popular chocolate-chocolate chip, lemon and streusel pecan praline which will be on sale.
One booth destination that has also become perennially popular at the festival is the book sale. The reading materials range from fiction, non-fiction, classics, recipes, spiritual readings, and coffee table tomes. Anyone who has books to donate to this booth is welcome to do so by contacting the church office. Homemade crafts and gifts for the raffle prizes from individuals, businesses or organizations are likewise welcome. Cash donations are also gratefully accepted.
As usual, admission to the festival is free and is open to the public.
Making a comeback this year is the popular pull-tabs game which offers various cash prizes to lucky winners.
One attraction that elicits a lot of interaction fun as well is the live auction held on the second day of the festival starting at 1 p.m. Bids are taken on a wide variety of donated items ranging from cattle and bales of hay to a wide array of theme baskets plus homemade Portuguese sweet bread whose biddings make great entertainment In the past, a loaf of this bread has fetched as much as $300 with the winner offering it to the crowd after the bidding.
There will be no live animals on the festival grounds, however. That is a practice that has been discontinued in recent years due to insurance risks.
There’s a silent auction as well taking place both days inside the gym.
Rounding out the laundry list of attractions are live performances by local talents, and drawings both days for various big-ticket items including children’s bikes. Raffle tickets will be sold both days of the festival at $1 apiece.
The religious highlight of the festival takes place on Sunday, Sept. 22, when the multi-lingual outdoor Mass will be offered on the festival grounds starting at 10:45 a.m. There will be no 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Masses on that day.
The festival will open right after the 10:45 a.m. Mass and will continue through 8 p.m. On Saturday, the festival will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
There is no admission and the public is invited. Harvest festival chairpersons this year are the husband and wife team of Keith and Lois Wiedenhoeft.
For any questions about the festival, call the church office at (209) 823-7197.