The St. Mary International Festival will kick off this Friday for the annual weekend long celebration.
Beginning on September 13, and concluding on September 15, the festival is set to be a weekend of food, fun, fellowship, live music and entertainment at Fifth and Market Streets in Portsmouth.
Food booths will be serving American, German, Indian, Italian, Mexican and Asian cuisines, while each day of the festival has scheduled entertainment acts.
While the celebration has been a tradition over the years, according to festival chair Rick Estep this year will have new things in store. Estep and his co-chair Tim Paul have worked to include some new events and attractions that will bring even more people to the festival. “We’ve added a snow cone machine, exotic animal petting zoo, and unicorn and pony rides,” said Estep. ”We’re trying to bring in more attractions for the kids.”
Estep added that also new this year will be a full quilt show, while last year only a quilt raffle was held and flu shots will be given on Saturday by the Health Department. The vintage farm tractor show, which will be held on Sunday, is also a new event that Estep is excited for.
This year’s St. Mary International Festival coincides with the 150th anniversary of St. Mary Church and to commemorate, a special mass will be held on Sunday with Bishop Brennan at 10:30 a.m. On Friday food booths and biergarten opens at 5:30 p.m., with a concert featuring Night Shift. On Saturday the flea market opens at 8, with antique custom car show and truck show, craft and vendor show, international food booths open at 11:00 a.m., entertainment provided by Ground Zero and Steve Free, Kids games and petting zoo, biergarten, Chinese auction, quilt show, and craft booth, 5:30 mass, and evening concert by Sheldon Road Band.
Sunday the festival will conclude after mass with Bishop Brennan, vintage farm tractor show, petting zoo, entertainment by City Heat and other bands, and raffle drawing at 6:00 p.m. with over $3,000 in total winnings and a treasure chest of goodies over a $1,000 value.
All these events, according to Estep, have been blessed by Father Joe Yoken. All proceeds will go towards church improvements.