BRANT BEACH, N.J. — St. Francis of Assisi Church on Long Beach Island here held its 34th Annual Festival of the Sea, one of the parish’s biggest fundraisers, last month. While the festival is always highly successful, raising approximately $75,000 for parish programs, this year’s economy produced a lower-than-average profit — roughly $55,000 — according to Juli Rosengarth, the parish’s coordinator of public relations.
Under beautiful summer skies, the friars of this vibrant church community manned booths, served as entertaining announcers, and sold 50/50 raffle tickets. Visiting summer friar Jeffery Jordan, OFM, joined pastor and guardian Stephen Kluge, OFM, James Scullion, OFM, and Thomas Conway, OFM, (shown in photo) in participating in the festival.
“The parish sisters were also on hand each night,” according to Rosengarth, “staffing tables for Relief Workers, and helping to coordinate the raffles that took place every hour.”
Held Aug. 6 to 9 on the St. Francis Community Center parking lot, admission was free. Money was raised through the $20 pay-one-price ride tickets and raffles.
Parishioners and members of the community enjoyed favorite festival food, including pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, cheese steaks, meatball and sausage and pepper grinders, French fries, chicken fingers, funnel cakes, zeppoles and ice cream. And because the festival celebrates the church’s location near the Atlantic Ocean, clams, shrimp, and chowder were served.
In the largest raffle, drawn on the last night of the six-day festival, the winner walked away with $14,000.
The Festival of the Sea is just one of the fundraisers held each year by the parish. The recent Eighth Annual House Tour was also success, thanks to the participating homeowners — the Corrados, the Smiths, the Defleces, the Moscas and the Mironenkos. The event was made possible by volunteers Patrick and Monica Moeller.
Many of the volunteers who work at the tour, which is sponsored by and benefits the St. Francis Community Center, are parishioners including the builder who each year chooses the homes and obtains the commitments from the homeowners, said Rosengarth.
The traditional 18-mile run takes place on Oct. 11, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Holgate, at the southern end of Long Beach Island. The run commemorates two terrorist attacks: the 1972 Munich Olympics and Sept. 11, 2001.
— Wendy Healy, a Connecticut-based freelance writer, contributes frequently to this newsletter.