Thursday July 12, 2012

LENOX -- St. Ann Roman Catholic Church is pulling out all the stops for its three-day Summer Festival this weekend, a dramatic expansion of its long-established annual Lawn Party.

The goal is to attract area residents and visitors to the festival.

The party begins on Friday evening with a Casino Night and is highlighted by an early-evening dinner on Saturday and a live auction that features a one-week getaway to a private Martha's Vineyard home for next summer, donated by St. Ann's Parish supporters.

Food and beverage service is available all day Saturday and Sunday for the rain-or-shine festivities, said publicity coordinator Katherine Abraham.

Proceeds benefit restoration projects at the historic church, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of its architecturally resplendent building last summer.

The parish hopes to raise between $30,000 and $40,000 to help pay down a remaining $90,000 from the loan that funded renovations to the bell tower and a new heating system, said the Rev. Chris topher "C.J." Waitekus, who is marking his 11th anniversary as pastor.

St. Ann's has about 1,000 families as parishioners, not only from Lenox but also from Pittsfield (including some members of the former Mount Carmel and St. Teresa parishes), Becket and Richmond, among other nearby communities.

The loan must be paid off by next fall, Waitekus pointed out.


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The festival is supported by underwriters who are helping cover expenses.

"We're reinventing a very old tradition, the Lawn Party," he said.

The Friday night Casino Party is a revival of an event held many years ago. It runs from 5:30 to 10, with poker, blackjack and other games; a cash bar and light snacks will be available. "You walk out with some really great prizes," Waitekus said.

"We decided to make the Lawn Party more fun," he added. "Let's shake it up and make it more of a celebration. It's expanded and enhanced."

A Taste of the Berkshires, with seatings at 5 and 6:30 on Saturday evening, offers menu samplings from 22 area restaurants. The meal, which includes a glass of wine or other beverage, costs $30 per person; tickets are available in person or by phone through the St. Ann's Rectory office or after all Masses. A cash bar also will be provided.

Under a large tent on the front lawn, more informal family fare will be offered, including hamburgers and hot dogs.

Abraham praised Waitekus' ecumenical efforts, including support he voiced at Town Hall meetings for tower renovations at the nearby Church on the Hill.

"There is a community spirit, a camarderie you just don't get in larger cities," she noted.

All-day attractions on Sat urday and Sunday include an extensive tag sale, home-baked goods, book sales and an "Antiques Road Show" featuring handheld items at $10 apiece.

Other Saturday events include a "Doggie Pageant" with ribbons for the best-dressed, best-behaved and owner-look-alike canines, in addition to other categories.

A Kids' Carnival will be presented from 11:30 to 3 on Saturday, with face-painting, a bounce house and an appearance by Bowie the Clown.

The live auction on Sat urday, from 11:30 to 2:30, includes sport and spa packages, certificates to stores and restaurants, and big-ticket items such as the Martha's Vineyard getaway for July 28-Aug. 4, 2013, (likely minimum bid at $1,500) and construction of a customized website by Lenox Web Design (minimum bid $600).

On Sunday, the parish's traditional pancake breakfast will be served from 8 to 11 a.m. ($6 for adults, $3 for children under 12) and Mass will be celebrated under the main tent at 11:15. A potluck family picnic follows from 12:15 to 1:15, with hamburgers and hot dogs provided; those attending can bring and share a side dish.

Shuttle service to and from St. Ann's will be provided from overflow parking offered at 218 Main St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The church is at 134 Main St. in the heart of the historic village.

For more information: (413) 637-0157 or www.stannlenox.org.

To reach Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto



If you go ...

Here is a partial list of events during the three-day St. Ann's Summer Festival this weekend in Lenox, which is being presented as a Berkshire community celebration for the first time this summer. The event is a fundraiser for the church to help defray costs of a new heating system as well as renovations to the bell tower.

Friday

  • 5:30-10 p.m.: Casino Night. Gamble for prizes -- poker, blackjack, other games. Cash bar and snacks. 18 and over only. Cash only.
  • Saturday

  • All day: Tag sale, book and home-baked goods sales, food and refreshments available. (Also Sunday.)
  • 9-noon: Antiques Road Show. Professional appraiser on site to evaluate items.
  • 10-10:45 a.m.: Doggie Pageant. Competition for best-dressed, best-behaved, owner lookalike, other categories.
  • 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.: Kids carnival. Face painting, bounce house, Bowie the Clown.
  • 11:30 to 2:30: Live auction. Items include a one-week vacation next summer at a Martha's Vineyard private home; sports, spa packages; store and restaurant certificates.
  • 5 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.: Seatings for Taste of the Berkshires. Samplings from 22 area restaurants. $30 per person includes free glass of wine. Cash bar available. Tickets: (413) 637-0157 or at the parish office and after Masses.

Sunday

  • 8-11 a.m.: Pancake breakfast. $6 for adults, $3 for children under 12.
  • 11:15 a.m.: Mass. Celebrated under the main tent; all are welcome.
  • 12:15-1:15 p.m.: Potluck family picnic. Hamburgers and hot dogs provided.
  • 2:45 p.m.: Raffle drawings.