Children and adults alike moved from tent to tent at the 2019 St. Joseph Catholic Church Parish Festival. This year’s festival will be drive-through meals only with drawing tickets available as well as an online auction for the Country Store. (DHI Media file photo)
Children and adults alike moved from tent to tent at the 2019 St. Joseph Catholic Church Parish Festival. This year’s festival will be drive-through meals only with drawing tickets available as well as an online auction for the Country Store. (DHI Media file photo)
FORT JENNINGS - Like many things over the last six months, St. Joseph’s Parish Festival on Aug. 9 in Fort Jennings is going to look different this year.

The 82nd annual parish festival festivities will be drive-through only. Supporters can cruise through the church parking lot and pick up meals, Big Ticket Raffle tickets with $1,000 the top prize and tickets for a grocery and gas card package worth $1,000.

“This year, we made the decision to not hold our festival in its usual format, but rather to offer a few activities in a revised ‘drive-through’ format. This decision was a very difficult one but given the uncertainty around the recent pandemic as well as the restrictions thereby inflicted, we feel that the revised festival format is in the best interest of our parish family and our festival patrons,” Co-Chair Tina Warnecke said. “We had postponed making our final decision on the format of our festival as long as possible, but eventually reached a point where contracts needed to be signed, deposits needed to be made, supplies needed to be purchased and other preparations needed to begin. We hope our festival patrons understand the merits of this decision and will find it in their heart to support our festival in its revised format.”

Carryout meals will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Meals are $10 each and will include chicken, beef, noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, roll and dessert. Tickets are available at the drive-through on the day of the event and the drive-through will split into two lanes to allow for the expected increase in carryout traffic.

“People really enjoy the meals and this is one of things we can do safely,” Warnecke said. “We worked with what we could control.”

One of the most popular activities at festival in the past is the Country Store.

“We are excited to offer Country Store Raffle Booth in an online format this year. The raffle booth was probably the biggest challenge but we knew that this event is one of our most popular events so we found a way to offer this in a safer manner,” Warnecke said. “In addition, many of our raffle items at the Country Store come from donations made by area businesses who are also constrained during these tough times, but we’ve been very blessed in that many of our past business sponsors have graciously donated once again and between those donations and those of individual parishioners, right now we’re up to almost 200 items to raffle off.”

The website will be open July 29 through Aug. 11 at stjosephcountrystore.ourraffle.org

Virtual tickets can be purchased online at 25 tickets for $10. Tickets can be applied to various items online in increments chosen by the purchaser. Pictures of items will be posted along with a description of the item and the donor/sponsor’s name. While Country Store items can be previews online now, tickets are not on sale until July 29.

Winners must pick up prizes. Pickup times will be announced at a later date.

Festival organizers understand a virtual raffle may not be ideal for everyone. They will hold in-person help sessions at the church for anyone who is unable or uncomfortable navigating the online raffle site from 2-5 p.m. on Aug. 8 and 4-7 p.m. on Aug. 10.

“While this year’s festival won’t allow us to physically come together as one parish family, we hope that our festival format for 2020 will still allow individual families to come together to celebrate their faith and thank the Lord for all of the blessings He has bestowed upon us,” Warnecke concluded.

The funds generated by the parish festival go towards the general maintenance of the church.

For more information, visit stjosephfortjennings.org/parish-festival