First and most importantly was the weather….people stated, “this is the nicest day in the history of the festival that I recall”. On the day of the festival it was, hot and sunny with a warm light breeze …and yes …if you were wondering ….the field was dry despite the abundance of rain prior to the festival. Therefore, I would be remised if I did not give God a shout of praise and thanksgiving for the beautifully prefect day we had.
Now speaking on the event itself, we had one of the largest crowds in our festival’s history. Not only was the parking lot full, the field was full and around the back of the chapel was full; it was an amazing sight to see. Another record breaker was the display of antique cars. Usually we have between 12 -18 cars, but this year we had 76 antique car participates and all I can say is …WOW
This year’s changes included bringing a greater awareness to the Columban Sisters and their work. We accomplished this by giving them their own tent and moving them to a place of prominence on the field where they could not be missed by festival goers. By giving them their own tent they were able to increase the mission display and items to sell. They had an amazing display and the Sisters manning the tent did an absolutely fabulous job of promoting the work of the Sisters, people really enjoyed hearing about their experiences from the mission field. One young man brought two boxes of school supplies to support Sister Julietta’s work with the cemetery children (our last mission appeal). His uncle is a current donor and shared her story with him and he felt compelled to support the Sisters and the children in the Philippines.
In gearing up for our upcoming 60th spring festival, we are making subtle changes to the festival field. Three main reasons for these changes are, most importantly, to bring a greater awareness to the Columban Sisters and their mission work, update some of the booths with more relevant themes while offering more appealing prizes, to provide more activities for all ages especially focusing on the 10-18 year-olds and finally to re-organize the field to relieve some areas of congestion and provide a better flow and different appeal to the field.
Another initiative was the relocation of the beer tent and games of chance which were moved to the end of field, lessening the congestion and confusion on the field creating a centralized gathering point on the main festival field. We also added picnic tables to this particular area, keeping festival goers near the booths, games of chance and beer tent while parents could keep a watchful eye on their kids enjoying the games and activities. ..this was a busy place and it created a feeling of “come and stay awhile”. Moving the location of the beer tent and games of chance to where the kid’s area was, gave us an opportunity to rethink the kid’s area. The kid’s area was moved across the sidewalk so it was near the food and other universal ticket activities lending itself to greater organization on the field. Along with moving the kid’s area we added a few new attractions, such as an additional inflatable bouncer and other games and activities which were geared towards the older kids (the 10 -18 years old that I spoke of earlier). We also had our first official Watermelon eating contest. The contest took place front and center on the stage and was a great attraction as festival goers gathered to cheer on their favorite contestant….it was an absolute blast.
Now that I shared some of the highlights from the field, let me share some information on the financial impact that broke some records as well. The gross amount recorded from the field was $48,948.00 which was approximately $6,100 over last year, which was a record for us. The net profit from the festival was $44,486 which was an increase of approximately $6,500 over last year. As a note the net profit would have been slightly higher but we invested in some permanent signs and kids games and activities that will be used at future festivals.
All in all it was a great team effort! The Columban Sisters and St. Columban’s on the Lake has the best team of workers and network of volunteers that I have had the privilege to work with and it is because of this that this festival will go down in the record books.
With a humble and grateful heart,
Mary Hosler, Director of Mission Advancement Columban Sisters Silver Creek, NY
For the original PDF copy of this reflection My reflection on the festival by Mary Hosler