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St. Alexis festival features 'a little bit of everything'

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The 22nd annual St. Alexis Parish Festival, which runs from July 30 through Aug. 2, will feature at least a dozen rides, an expanded flea market and a new theme for one of the nightly dinners, said Eric Kilburg, a festival co-chairman.

“It's a fun evening,” said Kilburg, of McCandless. “It's a little bit of everything for everyone.”

The flea market, which debuted last year, will move to a more prominent position, a tent near the ride ticket booth, and will add more items as space becomes available. The church will continue to accept items for the flea market throughout the festival, Kilburg said.

“Based on the size of the tent, we bring out as much as we can,” Kilburg said. “We continue to refill the tent prior to the festival opening each night.”

The Kiddieland tent also will move to a new location closer to the shuttle-bus stop. Two new games, Pig Race and Knock It Off, which is a game of skill, will be offered, as well as face painting, Kilburg said.

Jessica Boy, 15, a sophomore at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School in Moon Township, will be a new solo entertainer at the festival. She will play the guitar and sing an acoustic pop-rock set to open the main-stage entertainment at 6 p.m. Aug. 2. Her performance will feature covers of songs ranging from those of The Beatles to current hits, Boy said.

She said she chose the mix of songs to attract the attention of everyone from teenagers to adults.

“I hope to reach out to people and show them a variety of music,” said Boy, of McCandless. “I want everyone to have a good time and enjoy the music.”

Boy, a graduate of St. Alexis School, has performed at the festival before, but this will be her first time performing solo.

“I think it will be really cool seeing everyone and performing in front of them,” Boy said. “I'll be more comfortable performing because I know them.”

Parish officials do not disclose the amount of money raised at the festival, but all proceeds support the parish school, which has students in prekindergarten through the eighth grade, Kilburg said.

One of this year's themed dinners will feature Eastern European food. The menu for Aug. 1 will include hand-rolled stuffed cabbage, pierogies and an authentic Ukrainian cherry bar for dessert. The new menu was added because many people in the parish are of Eastern European descent, said Elizabeth Wiethorn, a co-chairwoman of the nightly dinners.

“People have asked for an Eastern European night, and we answered their call,” said Wiethorn, of Franklin Park. “I'm confident that it will be a great meal.”

With about 350 people served each night, there are many repeat dinner customers from year to year, Wiethorn said.

“The food is fantastic,” Wiethorn said. “Sit down with friends, have a great meal, and then go up to the festival.”

Melanie Donahoo is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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