New rides, music at this year’s St. Anthony’s festival

COLUMBUS GROVE — Parishioners and festival-goers this weekend at the two-day St. Mary Parish Summer Festival. Anthony enjoyed new rides and a musical performance for the festival’s debut this year.

The change in carnival vendors happened because the previous company couldn’t find enough workers because of COVID, said Ken Kruse, who has co-chaired the event for about 28 years and serves on the church’s finance committee.

“Being a small socialite, you don’t get to do some of the big rides like at the fairs. We had to find ways to do something for the kids,” Kruse said.

Truck Stop Manners couldn’t make it this year, so this year is also the parish debut for a 1960’s and 1970’s music performance by Two Groovy from 8 to 10 p.m.

On Saturday, other events were held from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. approximately and included a 5K run that began at 7 p.m. to school.

About 450 $450 $10 barbecue ribs, barbecue and pork chop dinners were prepared and sold starting at 5 p.m., and when they sold out, the hamburger tent opened, Kruse said. Dinners came with a baked potato, applesauce and a roll.

The festival continued on Sunday, from 11 am. until 10 p.m. and activities included duck races, children’s games, ten-minute baking wheel, garage sale, country store and crafts, quarter bingo where winners take home a gift (as opposed to cash) .

“Duck races go on all day in the beer tent. People place their bets on 8 or 9 ducks running in each race. The odds are then calculated on the computer as to what the payout is. The little ducklings run a course in the air made of vented plexiglass. You can see the ducks going in. They close them, and then they see the other end and there they run, and then they take them out after every game,” Kruse said.

The $12 home cooked Sunday meal included chicken and beef dinners with all the fixings (mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, pasta, coleslaw and a roll).

“The whole social is run by parishioners, and that’s what makes it special. There aren’t too many parish festivals anymore,” Kruse said. “There are 400 to 500 workers scheduled for the weekend. It basically takes the whole parish to do it.”

As for parishioner donations, “the country store is very popular and the shed is full of donated items for the garage sale,” Kruse said.

As for the turnout, Kruse said, “the whole town basically supports us for a day.”

In addition to attracting residents from other towns and parishes within a two-county radius, the festival brought together friends and family from faraway places across the country.

“This is the fourth year we’ve had friends from California come out just for the weekend,” Kruse said. “They are completely amazed at what is happening here. They say you can stand up and talk to anyone. You know everyone on social media. They are from California and said they hardly know their next door neighbors. So they just come out and just have the best time,” Kruse said.

“It’s an old tradition. I hope to help keep it going for a while,” Kruse said.

The nearly century-old Catholic parish festival tradition serves as a fundraiser to help support St. Anthony’s parish, fund its teachers’ salaries and keep tuition low for enrolled elementary school students.

Additional donations may be made to the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua, 512 W. Sycamore St., Columbus Grove.

Ken Kruse, who has been co-chairman of the Parish Festival for some 28 years, during Sunday’s annual St. Anthony of Padua Parish Festival in Columbus Grove.

Children perform during Sunday’s Annual St. Anthony of Padua Parish Festival at Columbus Grove.

Contact Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.

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