After months of preparations and hoping for sunny weather, Sunday, August 19, 2018 dawned bright and clear. The sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful clear blue and there was a slight breeze to cool the brows of the 80 volunteers hustling around the Festival grounds. Along side the members of Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, volunteers from the local Byzantine Catholic, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and other churches (many of whom are the spouses of parishioners), as well as local businesses work together to help make this small-town parish’s’ Festival a success. This benefits not only Holy Assumption but the entire town.
As the day of the Festival approached, the Halupki Committee was crossing their ‘t’s’ and dotting their ‘I’s’, making sure everything was ready. Saturday morning volunteers set up tables and chairs under a gigantic tent, along with a wooden floor for those who love to polka to
Wayne Golob Band with Ed Klimczak and the Frank Moravcik Band. Food tents and beverage areas were set to go. The refrigerated truck hummed along keeping all the goodies nice and cool.
As dawn came and went, Festival volunteers helped the 35 vendors find their spot to set up their wares. Flowers were put on the all the tables, a bounce tent for the (big and little) kids was going up and the clown arrived with her face-painting tools and balloon animals.
No special event begins without giving Glory to God. Divine Liturgy began at 10:00 a.m. to a standing-room-only Nave of worshippers. Serving with rector, Father Andrew Bartek was Father Basil Stoyka, retired, and Father Deacon Edward Kolenda from our sister parish Saint Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Lorain, OH. Father John Mason, retired, also joined the priests in the Sanctuary. With the blessing of their rector, Reverend Joseph McCartney, the Saint Peter and Paul choir sang for the Liturgy, which they have done in past years. At the end of the Liturgy, the Festival kicked off with a bang.
In previous years, Festival attendance topped off at about 1500+ visitors. This year surpassed every past year in attendance with a total of 2,000+ guests and approximately 1,000 dinners sold. Natalie Twarek, Committee Member said, “The crowd was recording breaking. We sold out of food at 5:15 p.m. even though we made more food than our record year (2017).” The lively polka music brought out all ages of dancers, including Father Andrew!
Several community members called Father Andrew Monday morning to tell him, “It was the best festival ever!” “Having the free shuttle for parking was great.” “The additional ala carte line was a good idea.” and “The menu was really nice.”
Father Andrew concluded, “This year’s Festival was a tremendous success! The volunteers worked hard and it showed. I’m very proud of everyone!”
A slide show of photos can be found here.
Articles about Holy Assumption Orthodox Church and the Festival can be found here
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Sandusky Register (Photo Gallery)