LIMA — One of Lima’s oldest traditions is back after a two-year hiatus, as the St. Rose Parish Festival returns this weekend.
Mary Paton, St. Rose Festival chairwoman, has helped organize the event for more than 20 years. She began working at the school around 1997, continuing the same festival tradition she remembered as a child.
“I’m a member of the parish and went to school here more than 40 years ago,” said Paton. “I remember it being only one day. They had hamburgers, grills and kids’ games. But they also had a teen dance. That was the big thing, when you were older.”
Following a hiatus, the festival returned thanks to Father Norbert Howe.
“It became a community-builder to show what was special about St. Rose. Parishioners were there to greet the community visiting our grounds, getting to know the people at St. Rose,” Paton said.
Additionally, the experience helps students, teachers and parishioners exercise their spirit of volunteerism.
“We are usually the first parish festival of the season in the Lima area,” Paton said. “We are just getting back from a two-year hiatus due to COVID. … It really is a lot of work. Planning for the next year’s festival starts around Christmas, and preparations begin after Easter. One of the reasons we hold it in May is the kids are still in school to help, along with their parents. Sunday’s kids’ games are run by parent-student teams who volunteer for two-hour shifts, but the kids end up having fun.”
Students bring items and fill themed baskets that are raffled off. For example, a “Rainy Day” basket may contain items such as a video, a blanket, coloring books and a pizza gift certificate.
The “Cake Wheel Country Store” is a roulette-type game. Winners choose either a baked good or a bag of non-perishable grocery items, all of which students’ families donated.
“Adult Night” will begin on Saturday and will run from 5 p.m. to midnight. It is open to everyone until 7 p.m., when those under 21 must leave. There will be a $2 cover charge to listen to Brother Believe Me from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The adult night helps to pay for the free admission to “Family Day,” which runs from noon until 8 p.m. Sunday. Two bands will play, Mischief (noon to 3 p.m.) and Ham Bone (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.).
This year, attendees can expect to see some of the old rides but also some new ones.
“For as long as I’ve organized the festival, we used D & D Putting and Amusements in Continental. But I was told because of COVID and having trouble getting people to work, they went out of business and had to sell their mechanical rides. Some were sold to Event Growth Organization out of Kenton that will be providing the rides and food truck,” Paton said.
According to Dan Egbert of EGO, they will bring a Kids Town funhouse, a Tubs of Fun spinning ride for younger children, a Mighty Truck Ride, a Frolic spinning ride for older kids, a 60-foot long slide and a jump house.
Expect fair-type foods, such as snow cones, cotton candy, funnel cakes, elephant ears, hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza. Regular participants will be happy to know they’ll still serve 1,800 pounds of wings, as well as a $12 half-chicken dinner and two sides prepared by Custer & Sons BBQ that is available on Sunday.
Children’s activities will include face painting, a fish pond, milk bottles and sucker tree. New this year will be games and prizes offered by Westgate Lanes.
For adults, there is the “50/50 Raffle.” The grand prize is typically around $5,000.
After more than 165 years in Lima, St. Rose is the oldest Catholic church in the city. In that time, the parish has grown to about 600 families, and many at the school and church volunteer for the annual festival.
Because the festival occurs during an enrollment period, parents meet St. Rose’s teachers, and students and can inquire about enrolling their child in pre-kindergarten as young as 3 years old to eighth grade. To help offset the expense, vouchers and need-based scholarships are available.
With a few adjustments, Paton is helping to create memorable experiences, like the ones she grew up with, for the next generation.
By Shannon Bohle
Reach Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.