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Monroeville

St. Bernadette Parish will host festival in Monroeville

| Monday, July 31, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Rob Weiss, Emmalyn Whanger, 5, mom Stephanie Whanger, dad Ray Whanger and Kelsie Whanger, 3, catch beads tossed off the roof of the church hall by entertainer Dallas Marks at St. Bernadette Parish's annual summer festival on Friday night, Aug. 5, 2016. The festival ran Aug. 4-6 on the parish campus in Monroeville.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Rob Weiss, Emmalyn Whanger, 5, mom Stephanie Whanger, dad Ray Whanger and Kelsie Whanger, 3, catch beads tossed off the roof of the church hall by entertainer Dallas Marks at St. Bernadette Parish's annual summer festival on Friday night, Aug. 5, 2016. The festival ran Aug. 4-6 on the parish campus in Monroeville.

St. Bernadette Parish is prepped for festival fun.

Its annual three-day summer festival kicks off Aug. 3 on parish grounds in Monroeville.

Raffles, games, rides, food, live entertainment, bingo and a flea market offer something for all ages.

The festival's goal is two-fold: to foster community unity and raise funds for the parish.

Last year's festival profits were more than $54,000, volunteer coordinator Matthew Valentine said.

“The best part of our festival is that it joins older and younger parishioners together (often working together in the same booth). Without the festival, these folks might never meet or get the chance to talk,” Valentine said. “This is our 12th year, and we've been very successful in building community within the church while at the same time raising funds to offset the parish debt.”

Father Tony Gargotta cooks up the popular Speedy Spuds each year, and organizers installed a new station that will alleviate long wait times for customers.

Visitors can nosh on festival food staples such as homemade hot sausage, cheeseburgers, pierogies, funnel cakes, pulled pork, walking tacos and kettle korn and wash it down with a beverage.

Children can play on five inflatable rides, including a 64-foot-long rock climb challenge.

Childrens' games include the cartoon wheel, basket brawl shootout, putt-putt golf, dunk-a-donut and others.

It takes about 300 volunteers to operate the festival, Valentine said.

“Our pastor offers a volunteer Mass on Saturday before the festival starts so these hard-working folks can sleep in on Sunday,” Valentine said.

Live entertainment offered nightly will include folk band The Barons on Thursday, Celtic/Irish and classic rock band Corned Beef and Curry on Friday and a returning festival favorite, country performer Dallas Marks, on Saturday.

The festival flea market held inside the Lourde's Center cafeteria draws visitors from far and wide.

More than 4,000 square feet await treasure hunters, and people come early, even paying an early-bird entrance fee to get first dibs, Valentine said.

Free parking is offered, and ride-all-night amusement passes are available.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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