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The calendar might still say Spring but in Sylvania, summer has officially begun this weekend with the annual St. Joseph Parish’s Festirama.
The smell of fried fun finger foods like potatoes and funnel cakes filled the western campus of St. Joseph parish. Families and small children were already waiting with ticket in hand to get on one of the 20 rides featured at St. Joseph Parish’s 34th annual Festirama Expanding the Experience.
This year, the carnival fun has flowed over onto the parish and school's east campus at 5373 Main St.
“We have a green screen photo booth where friends can take pictures with a background of their choosing,” Elaine Dickendasher, co-chair of the Festirama Committee, said.
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Brenda Boudrie, chair of the Festirama Committee, said the expanded experience includes a section where local food vendors from Toledo and Sylvania will be cooking up chicken, sausage, and other dishes for the more than 2,500 people that are expected to visit the festival each day.
John Hartnett, co-owner of Opa! restaurant of Toledo, was invited to be one of the local food vendors in the east campus.
“We are serving Greek sausage with our trade secret spices, served with lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce,” he said.
Beer, poker, and the popular outdoor beanbag toss game were all on tap on that side of the parish at the start of the festival 6 p.m. Friday.
“We came out for a drink after work and some fun,” Roxanne Morse of Toledo, said.
The 42-year-old was trying to beat her friend at beanbag toss. But Derrick Davis, 24, of Bowling Green was on-the spot with each throw.
Across the street on the west campus, cheers and frightful screams abounded from those riding some of the rides - a couple of which twirled, and touched the sky at racing speeds.
John Buetel, 9, l held his tickets in hand, eager to ride the Hurricane.
“It’s a new one, it has these little carts that swirl and go upside down,” the Sylvania resident said.
He was accompanied by a group of friends also excited to ride the Kamikazi, another gravity defying ride.
Many adults said they were looking forward to the lip-smacking barbecued chicken dinner served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It’s cooked by John DiMartini, who parishioners and volunteers call Mr. Chicken Man.
“He is in charge of the barbecue, it’s a delicious recipe but it’s a secret,” Sue Cutshall, secretary of the committee, said with a smile.
More than a 1,000 volunteers help to make the event fun, safe, and filled with a variety of activities for the whole family.
The Festirama is a fund-raising celebration that gives residents and those in the community a chance to connect before families go on summer vacations, and it is an extension of the church’s ministry and outreach services, Mrs. Dickendasher said.
Over the past 10 years about $600,000 has been raised and goes toward the operation of the parish, as well as its activities and community programs that include the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, a family center, Knights of Columbus, and bible study.
Entertainment includes the Chris Shutters Band from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, and Johnny Rodriguez 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Festirama continues noon to midnight today, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. For a full list of activities and ticket ride prices, visit www.stjoesylvania.org.
Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.