St. Simon Prepares for Annual Festival
Everyone knows that the onset of summer means cookouts, pool parties and vacations. But ask any Geist resident, and they’ll add one more thing to the list that symbolizes the changing of the season: the annual St. Simon Festival.
As one of the most anticipated local events of the year, the 2010 St. Simon Festival will kick-off the summer Thursday, June 3 through Saturday night, June 5, on the grounds of St. Simon the Apostle Catholic Church, 8155 Oaklandon Road.
In its 12th year, the festival has consistently grown larger, both in attendance and attractions, with an expected 20,000 visitors enjoying three days of games, rides, music and food.
“This is an event that takes hundreds of people from the community working together in order to make it successful,” says Phil Squier, co-chairman of the festival. Squier, along with fellow chair Chris Frederick, have worked together on the festival committee for three consecutive years.
Although the two head up the committee, there are close to 500 volunteers that work year-round to make the event happen. From picking up trash during pre-dawn hours, to organizing the food and setting up games, volunteers are a vital part of the coordinated effort.
“We have an amazing festival planned this year,” says Frederick. “It’s really a great event that brings our community together. From the church volunteers, to the local businesses and community members, everyone has really come through to offer one of our best events yet.”
Included in the line-up of family-friendly attractions is Kids Land, an area just for youngsters that will feature inflatables, games, hair and face painting, and balloon artists. There will also be a designated space especially for teens, with a DJ and other featured entertainment.
As always, the Vegas Room will be in full swing, with casino games available for adults. Bingo will also be an ongoing attraction, as well as carnival games and rides, raffles and prizes, and the ever-present festival food.
With outside vendors providing an array of mouth-watering food choices, visitors can also sample roasted corn and pork tenderloin, just a sample of the menu prepared by the church’s own Knights of Columbus chapter.
Another top draw is St. Simon Idol, a contest modeled after the well-known format of American Idol. Ten contestants will compete for the top honor, which is to be named the St. Simon Idol and receive a cash prize of $250.
“One of the best things about the festival is definitely the live music,” says Squier. “Not only do we have individual performers from the community scheduled throughout the day, but this year we also have the Flying Toasters and Loo Abbey headlining the evening schedule. They are both amazing bands,” he says.
Loo Abbey and St. Simon Idol are both on the schedule for Thursday, opening night. The Flying Toasters will perform on both Friday and Saturday nights.
While the festival serves as a fun, community-building event, it also serves as the main fundraiser for St. Simon, with proceeds going into the general fund and then allocated to support various needs of the church.
Father Bill Marks, pastor for St. Simon, has been with the church for almost two years, and enjoyed last year’s event for the first time. “The festival is a wonderful opportunity to connect as a faith community and be present to the community around us,” he says.
“It takes many people to make our festival happen and it is amazing to witness parishioners coming together for the success of a common goal,” Marks says. “What a wonderful annual event to bring people together to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.”