Everson's St. Joseph presenting summer festival Saturday and Sunday
Homemade Polish food and a variety of entertainment for all ages are what keep people coming back to St. Joseph's Church Summer Festival year after year.
This weekend, the Everson church will host its 39th Summer Festival at its Painter Street location.
Jason Taft, festival public relations chairman, said nearly 1,000 people attend the free two-day event each year.
“We get people from as far away as Indiana and Point Marion each year. We draw a lot of people in mainly for the Polish food and the entertainment we offer,” Taft said.
This will be the first festival for the parish's new pastor, the Rev. Andrew Kawecki, who began serving at the church only two weeks ago. Kawecki, who is also pastor at St. John the Baptist RC Church in Scottdale, said he is looking forward to taking part in the festival.
“Everybody is welcome to come and share in this experience and have a good time,” Kawecki said.
He agreed with Taft that the food is an important component to the festival's success, and he plans to help out in that area by making some of the fried dough.
“The food is all homemade by the women of the church. They make the different dishes with love and dedication with their recipes from home,” Kawecki said.
This year's event starts at 4 p.m. Saturday when Polish platters are served. Festival booths will be open from 5 to 11 p.m., featuring ethnic foods and traditional foods, games and prize drawings. Ray J and the Carousels Polka Band will entertain from 6 to 10 p.m.
During the band's breaks, there will be a new edition to the festival — comedy hypontist Devin Knight.
Entertainment Chairman Frank Taft said there will be a variety of games and contests to keep children entertained, including a bubble blowing contest, an ice cream eating contest and a coins in the sawdust hunt.
“For the sawdust hunt, we put a bunch of coins in a pile of sawdust. We let the kids search through in age groups, with the youngest going first. They get to keep whatever money they find, and if they find the special coin they win a prize. It's a great game for kids, especially the real young ones,” Frank Taft said.
On Sunday, the festival begins with a turkey dinner being served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Booths will be open from 4 to 10 p.m.
There will be a Battle of the Bands contest beginning at 1:30 p.m. The battle begins with a rock band from Connellsville called About Last Night. Next up will be the William Forest Band from Indiana, which will play songs from the '80s and '90s. Pittsburgh's Westward Hollow band will take the stage after that with a mix of country and rock. Back this year to defend their title from their last appearance two years ago is Connellsville's Good Enuff, which will play rock songs from the '80s and beyond. Last to take the stage will be Scottdale's Shark Monroe, playing rock songs from the '70s and beyond.
Frank Taft said anyone who purchases a 50/50 ticket can vote for the winner by putting the drawing portion of the ticket in the jar for the band they think should win.
“You actually get a chance to win and to vote for the band you like best,” Frank Taft said.
Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer to the Daily Courier.