Monticello’s longest running festival is back, for what is believed to be the 88th edition, at the end of this month.
St. Henry’s Fun Festival, previously known as St. Henry’s Fall Festival, will be held Saturday, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 27 at St. Henry’s Church in Monticello.
The event, a major fundraiser for the local Catholic Church, will run Saturday evening and during the day Sunday. It features a fiesta dinner, live music throughout the weekend, a waffle breakfast, and much more.
“We really try to make it so there’s something for everybody,” said Brent Aitchison, one of four steering committee chairs for the event.
The event, which is open to the whole community, and surrounding communities, was moved back to August three years ago. Prior to that it has been held in September for a number of years.
Aitchison said weather, and availability, were the two biggest factors in making the switch.
He said the weekend before Labor Day felt like a weekend where more people would be home, and looking for something to do.
“We thought that this week was a good week,” he said. “We could accommodate our parish and community better.”
And getting people out, and bringing people together, is the main goal for the St. Henry’s festival.
“It’s a celebration of our community and church,” said Aitchison. “It’s all about being together and having a good time.”
To bring people together, they’re promising food, fun, and fellowship.
The food highlights are many for the festival, including a Saturday night fiesta dinner and Sunday morning waffle breakfast, with a lot of other options in between. There will be pork chops, kettle corn, a booth with authentic Mexican food, and much more during the two-day gathering.
“It’s a mini state fair like atmosphere,” said Aitchison.
Much of the food, especially that found at the pie social, which was brought back last year to rave reviews, is prepared by parishioners. Parish Administrator Dan Dupay said that is just one chance for church members to showcase their abilities during the Fun Festival.
“We celebrate all the good things we have to share,” said Dupay. “You really see the different talents of the parish shine through.”
One of those talents is most certainly planning. Dupay said planning for each festival starts almost as soon as the previous one ends.
A big part of that planning process has been the four chairs of the steering committee, Brent and Lanette Aitchison and Rick and Janelle Hazuka. But it stretches beyond that too. Each event has a committee chair that puts in countless hours, and on top of that it takes many, many volunteers to rally together and tackle all of the tasks that come with throwing a major two-day festival.
“The time those volunteers put in is amazing to me,” said Dupay.
With the help of the steering committee and the chairs, the event has underwent some transformations in recent years. The major one was moving back to August and returning to the 1980s name of Fun Festival, something that Aitchison said really fit what they were trying to accomplish with the festival.
This year they’ll be making the change from one big structure, to a lot of tents in the parking lot.
“We’re excited,” said Aitchison, about the change. “It will be more intimate, and it will bring people closer together.”
One thing that remains a focus of the festival is live entertainment.
Bands scheduled to play during the festival include High Brow and the Shades, The Rod Cerar Band, and The Toby Kid Clown Show.
“We have live entertainment throughout the entire festival,” said Aitchison. “I think that adds a great framework for fun.”
The party is not just for St. Henry’s church members, either. It has long drawn other members of the Monticello community, other members of the Catholic Church community from surrounding areas, and other people who just like a good festival.
“We ask parishioners to invite friends, family, coworkers,” said Aitchison. “It’s a great time to pull everybody together.”
The Church of St. Henry’s Fun Festival is held in the Church of St. Henry’s Parking Lot, and inside the church. Admission to the festival is free, with food and beverages being available for purchase.
Parking will be available on site. The Church of St. Henry is located on 7th St. in Monticello, next to Home Depot.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]