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International Festival Returns Sunday
International Festival Committee members have been hard at work assembling a number of basket items for both silent and live auctions at Sundays event. The annual St. Marys Parish International Festival will be hosted from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the church at 1225 Olive St., Oakdale. Photographed from left: Caren Sanchez, Debbie Santillanes and MaryEllen Azevedo. Teresa Hammond/The Leader


Sunday, Sept. 13 won’t be a day of ‘service as usual’ for St. Mary’s Catholic Church and its parishioners. The church at 1225 Olive St., Oakdale, will host its annual International Festival this coming Sunday. A pasta dinner will be hosted Saturday night to kick off the following day’s event.

“It’s open to everyone,” event chairperson, Debbie Santillanes said. “This is not just for parishioners of St. Mary’s. We welcome the community to join us.”

The International Festival will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sunday with a bilingual mass conducted outdoors.

According to Santillanes, Father Richard Morse will lead the outdoor mass complete with a straw bale altar.

“He said he wanted a straw bale altar this year, so we will have one,” she said. “We are Oakdale, after all. He really gets into it.”

The all day festival on the church grounds begins with the mass and concludes at 5:30 that evening.

Santillanes hopes the community arrives prepared to spend much of the day enjoying a variety of food, fellowship, entertainment and games.

“It’s like a food alley,” she said, noting the variety spans from Mexican, Filipino, Portuguese, German, Italian and American. “We have so much; we get to learn about the culture and the food. The prices are just so reasonable.”

All exhibitors and vendor proceeds go directly to St. Mary’s Church. Prices for food range from as little as $1 to $5, $7 or $10 for a dinner plate.

“They’re not vendors, but parishioners that do it out of their own pocket,” the event chairperson said. “We’ll also be selling tamales by the dozen.”

The wine and cheese garden will also make a return appearance to this year’s event.

“We put it off by itself where you can just relax,” the chairperson noted. “This year we’re going to bring soft music.”

Keeping with the family fun and festival atmosphere there will also be a dedicated kids area set up on the lawn. Wristbands will be sold for $7, allowing youth all day access to bounce houses, games and activities.

“They get tickets from the games and then they can go to the prize booth to get prizes,” Santillanes stated. “Our parishioners are very, very generous. We’re lucky because we get to put most of the money right to where we want it to go.”

It is the hope of the committee as well as members of the parish that it will eventually go to constructing a multi-purpose room on the church grounds.

“I feel like I’m the crust of a pie,” Santillanes concluded. “I have a team of us working together and we get to learn each other’s cultures.

“We’re doing God’s work. I just love seeing people happy.”

For additional information on the International Festival or to make a monetary donation contact Santillanes at 209-559-0608.