The St. John’s Harvest Festival and Turkey Dinner was held at the St. John the Apostle Catholic Church at 515 Broadway Street in Brandenburg on Sunday, October 17, beginning at 11:00 a.m. When I arrived just before 11:00 a.m. there already was a long line of people getting take-out orders for the turkey dinner.
The church set up the dinner and harvest festival differently this year. Those getting take-out orders entered the social hall to pick up their orders and exited through the gymnasium. Food was brought from the kitchen to the gymnasium and served to those who were dining in. Tables were set up in the gymnasium where diners had adequate room to social distance due to COVID precautions. In the back of the gymnasium a cake wheel was set up, and against the wall silent auction items were on display. Most other harvest festival activities took place outdoors.
The turkey dinner was delicious, and included portions of turkey and ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, baked apple slices, cranberry sauce, a roll, iced tea or lemonade, and a dessert. New to the menu this year was an eggroll that was served with each meal. Father Toan Do, who is Vietnamese, came to pastor St. John’s in June and he wanted to serve eggrolls in appreciation for his acceptance into our community. He and his family prepared 1,200 eggrolls, filled with pork, carrots, and clear noodles. They were very tasty!
The weather could not have been better for the booths that were placed outside. It was cool and a bit breezy, but the abundant sunshine warmed people up. The setting reminded me of an old-fashioned fair. Rustic booths were set up for children and their families to play games such as ring toss, apple in a basket, bowling, and Plinko. There was also a pumpkin painting booth where the children were able to be creative with their designs. Young people from the church enjoyed manning these booths.
In the picnic pavilion a concert got underway about 1:00 p.m. by Armada De Vida, a band comprised of local high school students. Andrew Barnes is the lead singer, Shawn Blevins plays the bass guitar and keyboard, Zach Yates is the lead guitarist, and the drummer is Sam Benham. They performed a variety of rock standards, including “House of the Rising Sun” and “Wild Thing.” The band is quite good and had the audience toe tapping and singing along.
Before the event closed there was a live auction featuring hand-crafted items, gift cards, power tools, and desserts, all which were donated by St. John parishioners and local businesses.
The purpose of the yearly Harvest Festival is for the St. John church to raise funds for different parish activities, including youth programs. It is the church’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The festival is also a great social activity for parishioners and members of the community. We missed being able to attend this festival in 2020 due to COVID restrictions and were thrilled to see it return this year.