New rides, music at this year’s St. Anthony Festival

COLUMBUS GROVE — Parishioners and festival-goers enjoyed new rides and a festival-debut musical performance this weekend at the two-day St. Anthony Parish Summer Festival.

The change in carnival ride providers came because the previous company couldn’t find enough workers due to COVID, said Ken Kruse, who has co-chaired the event for about 28 years and serves on the church’s finance committee.

“As a small social enterprise, you can’t get some of the big rides like at fairs. We had to find ways to do something for the kids,” Kruse said.

Truck Stop Manners couldn’t make it this year, so this year is also the community debut for a 1960s-1970s music performance by Two Groovy from 8-10pm

On Saturday other events ran from 5pm to around 10pm and included a 5k run which started at 7pm at the school.

About 450 dinners of $10 worth of BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken and BBQ pork chop were prepared and sold starting at 5 p.m., and when those sold out, the hamburger tent opened, Kruse said. Dinner came with baked potatoes, apple sauce and a bun.

The festival resumed on Sunday from 11am to 10pm and activities included duck races, children’s games, a dime baker’s wheel, flea market, village shop and crafts, neighborhood bingo where winners receive a gift (as opposed to cash) take home. .

“The duck races take place all day in the beer tent. People place their bets on 8 or 9 chicks running in each race. Then the odds are calculated on the computer for the payout. The little chicks run up a track made of ventilated Plexiglas. You can see the ducks going in. They close them and then they see the other end and they run there and then they’re taken out after every race,” Kruse said.

The home-cooked $12 Sunday grab-and-go included a chicken and beef dinner with all the trimmings (mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, pasta, coleslaw, and a bun).

“The whole social is community led and that’s what makes it so special. So not too many parish festivals are organized anymore,” said Kruse. “400 to 500 workers are scheduled for the weekend. It basically takes the whole parish to do that.”

As for donations from parishioners, “the village store is very popular and the utility shed is stocked with donated items for the flea market,” Kruse said.

Kruse said about the turnout: “Basically, the whole city supports us for a day.”

The festival not only drew residents from other cities and towns within two counties, but also brought together friends and family from far flung locations across the country.

“This is the fourth year that we’ve had friends from California who just come out for the weekend,” Kruse said. “They are totally amazed at what is happening here. They say you can stand and talk to anyone. You know everyone on social. They are from California and said they hardly knew their neighbors. So they just come out and have the best time,” Kruse said.

“It’s an old tradition. I hope to be able to help that it goes on for a while,” said Kruse.

Roughly a century old, the Catholic parish festival tradition serves as a fundraiser to support the parish of St. Anthony, pay its teachers’ salaries and keep tuition low for enrolled elementary school students.

Additional donations can be made at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 512 W. Sycamore St., Columbus Grove.

Ken Kruse, who has been the co-chair of the parish festival for about 28 years, during the annual parish festival of St. Anthony of Padua Sunday at Columbus Grove.

Children play during the annual parish festival of St. Anthony of Padua on Sunday in Columbus Grove.

Reach Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.

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