Welcome to the Photos & Memories Page!
On this page we are happy to share the following:
• A Little Festival History
• Share Your Memories – Tag Us!
• Festival Testimonies
• Photo Gallery
• Festival Fly-over Video
The Fall Festival has been a beloved local tradition serving the broader Huntington Beach community and parish family since 1966. The first Festival was actually held at the Huntington Beach Senior Center, the second in the newly built school, and then on the corner of the church parking lot until finally moving on to the large grassy field. What started out as a small sampling of food and game booths has grown to encompass the entire grassy field and includes carnival rides and games; numerous food booths; a huge tent (called the Pavilion), where local bands perform nightly; and many other fun activities. In a normal year, the three-day event is hosted by hundreds of SSJ volunteers and attended by thousands of people from all of the surrounding communities. The Fall Festival truly exemplifies SSJ hospitality – it provides a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment for the local community that reflects the care and concern for others that strengthens the Body of Christ.
In October 2016, SSJ celebrated a milestone - the 50th Annual Fall Festival. Pictured are Gayle McCrea (middle) the first festival chairperson in 1966 and Mary Zant and Toni Bowermaster, Festival Co-chairs for the 50th Fall Festival. In fact, Mary and Toni guided the Festival for many years and are credited with growing the Festival to what we all know and love today! Mary and Toni passed the Festival “baton” to Gail Dyer, who has been the Festival Chair for the last two years. Under the guidance of Gail and The Festival Board, SSJ is proud to continue this joyful tradition, albeit virtually, this year.
“Together. Apart.” is this year’s theme. As you know, we can’t hold our traditional Festival because of COVID-19. Even though we are limited in how we can physically gather together, we can still celebrate fellowship and stay connected and have joyful fun by utilizing creativity and technology!
We look forward to seeing everyone on the grassy field next year!
In the spirit of staying connected and sharing the joy of Festival, we invite you to share your photos of favorite Festival memories, past and current, on social media!
Last year, the Festival Board asked a few people what they loved about our Festival. This is what they shared:
“I love fostering stronger ties with the greater community through hospitality and fellowship. The Fall Festival is a perfect time to put these values into action.” ~ Christina Villalobos
“There are numerous things, such as the many people who have so much talent and are willing to share their gifts; the fact that I see all ages mingling, chatting, dancing and singing; the fact that I can’t decide which food booth to try; and the fact that each year I make new friends. What’s not to love about that!” ~ Dianne Schautschic
“Festival creates smiles and I love being part of that!” ~ Doreen Irish
“We love the relationships we build with the other Festival volunteers. We also love to cook and it makes us happy to see people enjoy our food while helping raise money for the parish.” ~Anh Nguyen
“My favorite thing is walking around during Festival and seeing everyone having so much fun, especially the families with the little kids making wonderful memories.” ~ Katy Martinazzi
“Festival is something we do as a family and it is a great opportunity to meet others in the parish.” ~ Tom Piechota
“My father was very active in the community and my in-laws actually helped start the Festival. So I love being able to get to know so many great people of the parish through the Festival and continuing my father’s and my mother-in-law’s spirit of volunteerism by being involved with the Festival.” ~ Gail Dyer
“I love having the opportunity to meet other parishioners and seeing everyone working together for the success of Festival. It truly is a community building event.” ~ Joyce Peterson
“Festival gives me a change to catch up with people I don’t see very often and help out the parish while having fun.” ~ Eric Smith
“Festival is the one time a year where people let loose, hang out with their family, celebrate as a community and gather to join in this amazing faith community. Also, I love seeing many of the kids I used to babysit or run around with at coffee and donuts. This parish is home to me. I return each year because it’s fun and SSJ comes together as a community showing what fellowship and community is all about.” ~ Laura Sumpter Sikes
“The SSJ Fall Festival is a Huntington Beach institution. Regardless if you’re Catholic or not, Festival is one thing that brings everyone together. I’ve watched it change over the years. Each iteration has been bigger and better, and our community volunteers are the biggest part of its ongoing success.” ~John Burgard
“I love working with the people that volunteer for Festival. I like working side by side with parishioners that I might not have ever met. We talk, laugh and have a great time. When I see them months later, in church or in the market, it makes SSJ my community, not just my church. ~ Bob Culhane
Here are a few joyful memories from Festivals past!