Stuff Catholics Like: Parish Festivals

Waiting for Salvador Nieves' amazing tacos!Church festivals are perhaps the most underrated form of entertainment ever. For just a few dollars, there’s food and frolic that beats anything else around. Even if you do nothing but people watch, there’s usually some shenanigans that’ll make you laugh.

Today is our parish festival at Saint Joseph’s and I popped over for a couple hours this afternoon. What a riot! I talked with a bunch of people I hadn’t seen in a while, tasted some beverages that I’d never had before (aguas frescas), and cackled with some ladies until I thought I might wet myself. And the party doesn’t end (officially) until almost 8:00 tonight. I’m definitely going back to dance later.

For all the hilarity, this is a pretty tame parish festival. I’ve been to some (back when I lived in Milwaukee) where there was a whole lot of drinking and raucousness that really made it hard to tell apart from a wild beer tent! Of course, that was later in the evening. There’d be live music and pitchers of beer, open gambling and dancing—all stuff that Catholics are well known for, since we don’t tend to separate church activities from the rest of life. Inevitably, there were people from non-carousing denominations who would come to let their hair down in the belief that no one else from their church would be there to witness their unbridled acts of debauchery. I’ve even seen Baptists dancing!

It could be that the best part is that there’s our Saturday night Mass right in the middle of the festival, so you can come party, go to church, and then party some more, all at one venue! What could be better?

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