St. Joe's parish picnic becomes full harvest festival
St. Joseph's annual parish picnic has been upgraded to a Harvest Festival, but the sentiment remains the same.
"It gives people a chance to make new connections in a parish and say more than 'peace be with you' to one another," said Father Paul Kammen. "It gives people a chance to share a meal or a beer and a game of bingo and truly get to know one another."
The event, which for 30 years has been just for church family, has opened its doors to the community for the first time.
"We used to be internal, where we would welcome back the parishioners to the new school year," said festival co-chair Bridget Samson. "This year we are really being outward to the community at large."
The event also acts as a fundraiser for the church to help cover its general operating costs, which, Samson said, frees up the budget for more ministries to the community.
The festival will start with a mass at 5 p.m. Sept. 17 and will close with a mass at 6 p.m. Sept. 18.
In between, there will be Celtic music, a chicken dinner, a split-the-pot raffle, bingo, food vendors, inflatables, boat races, a dance party, carnival games and a beer garden.
Food will be provided by the Knights of Columbus, Rita's Italian Ice and Broaster Catering.
The chicken dinner will include carrots from the parish's community garden as well as mashed potatoes, dressing, coleslaw, dinner rolls and apple crisp.
Pies made from scratch by St. Joe's parishioners will be sold, as will candy, cotton candy and popcorn.
The classic rock/country band Radio Active will entertain at 2 p.m.
As an extra special touch, photographs taken by Father Kammen will be on display and for sale. Father Kammen's photography has been featured on National Geographic's website.
Admission and parking are free. The Church of St. Joseph is located at 13900 Biscayne Ave. For a complete event listing, go online to www.stjosephcommunity.org/harvestfestival.