LEICESTER, Mass. — St. Joseph and St. Pius X parishes in Leicester are getting ready to celebrate the third Annual Family Fall Festival, a fair that will once again offer crafts, baked goods, magic and something for the whole family to participate in while helping out the local church.
The tradition began with former pastor Stephen Johnson, who wanted to get the congregations and townspeople together "for a day of fun to be with their families," said Sharon Richford. "Regardless of their denominations or where they come from, he just wanted everybody to get together."
Richford said the first event was a huge success and together the community was able to raise $8,000 for the church from proceeds.
"We had so much fun that he wanted to make it an annual thing," she added.
Yet about three weeks before last year's Family Fall Festival, the congregation was shaken by tragedy when Johnson suddenly passed away.
"It was really tough last year," said Richford, explaining that while the event was still held for the community, "it was kind of bittersweet that day."
Despite the loss, the congregations hoped to see the tradition continued, and current pastor Rob Loftus was happy to carry on with the event.
"He's been really great for the town and for our parish," said Richford of Loftus. "He feels the more the merrier, and wanted to expand it and see what else we could do to attract people and get everybody out there."
Once again, the festival will feature crafts to buy, food and baked goods, silent auction, as well as a Kids Carnival with games, face painting and other activities for children.
Additionally, Leicester resident George Lawton will once again entertain with his magic show at 11 a.m.
Richford said that one new addition this year will be a farmers market.
"Residents can reserve a table for $10 and come up and sell their local produce," she said.
Family Fun Day will have free admission, but $5 will provide kids with unlimited games in the kids' carnival.
For more information on Family Fun Day, or to reserve a table for the farmers market, call the parish office at 508-892-7404.
The fair will be held rain or shine from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8 at St. Joseph's Parish Center, 759 Main St, Leicester.