St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s annual festival in North Vernon began as a daylong fundraiser for youth activities, but in recent years it has expanded into a three-day, post-Labor Day event.
As the festival grew in duration, its popularity grew beyond church membership, an organizer said.
“Since it became a three-day event, more of the community outside of our church community has been coming to the festival, and it has become like a secondary fair,” said Abbey (Kirchner) Bales, who is helping to organize the church’s community festival.
“From comments we have received, many people outside of our church say they have been looking forward to our festival this year and we really welcome them,” she added.
This year’s festival, a fundraiser for St. Mary’s School and other church youth activities, is Friday, Saturday and Sept. 10 at the church, 212 Washington St. in North Vernon.
It will feature several free musical acts. The Blue River Band will play country and classic music from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the Jai Baker Trio will play country, pop and rock from 3 to 6 p.m., and Soul Street will perform its soul and Motown music from 7 to 11 p.m.
“The music area is family friendly, and we hope everyone will bring a lawn chair and enjoy the music, and there will be plenty of room to dance where ever you want,” Bales said.
Carnival rides and games will be available each day. Ride bracelets cost $17. Rides are open from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 10.
A beer garden is available for adults starting at 5 p.m. Friday and from 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday.
Other events for adults include:
A bean-bag toss tournament at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The entry fee is $50 per pair. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.
Plinko, beginning at 5 p.m.
A casino night, starting at 7 p.m.
The fish fry buffet on Friday costs $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. An all-you-can-eat chicken dinner buffet is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
An outside grill will offer hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, nachos and pizza for individual purchase on all three days of the festival. A sweets booth will sell desserts.
Free lawn games will take place throughout the weekend, as well as a silent auction.
Also, the traditional kickball tournament for students ages 12 and older starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at North Vernon City Park.
For more information, call 812-346-3604 or go online at facebook.com/saintmarysfestival/