When the St. Therese Catholic Church festival opens Friday, “all booths are open,” said Adam Kavalauskas. “Everything goes all three days.”

Kavalauskas is the new chairman of the festival, though he’s been involved with the annual event for several years as a parishioner.

“I’m in Holy Name Society at the parish,” he explained. “I’ve attended the festival, and I’ve volunteered, too. There was a need for new leadership, so I volunteered to do it, working with the festival committee. It’s great to see everyone working together.”

New this year

Traditions are huge at church festivals — where folks look forward to eating their favorite foods and visiting their favorite booths — but it’s also fun to add new features.

The “something new” this summer at St. Therese’s festival “is a big one,” Kavalauskas said.

“Our inaugural Cornhole Championship starts at 1 p.m. sharp on Sunday.

“We have 10 teams signed up already and are taking signups through Friday.”

Kavalauskas said cornhole — or bean bag toss — “is getting bigger and bigger in this area, and local leagues have formed. We wanted to feature something that exists within the festival and takes advantage of our beautiful grounds here.

“We invite the cornhole players to enjoy some food and drinks while they’re here.”

Here’s the scoop: Two-person teams can sign up at the website, www.st-therese-kenosha.org. Signups are online only. If it rains Sunday, the tournament will move indoors. The top three teams will receive cash and other prizes.

Food items

Food is a subject that comes up repeatedly when talking about a church festival.

At St. Therese, the Food Court is all under a pavilion, offering shade and rain protection.

Food items available at the St. Therese festival include Italian sausage, Italian beef, DeRango’s pizza, brats, corn on the cob, sloppy Joes and pretzels, plus fried green beans and fried cheese curds.

Two new items this year are the Italian combo (hot beef and sausage together), which is “officially a menu item now,” Kavalauskas said, “adding, I love it myself.”

The festival’s “sweet shoppe” is pairing up with Lou Perrine’s to feature Mama P’s HoHo Cake in our “sweet shoppe,” along with homemade bakery goods, ice cream and brownie and strawberry shortcake sundaes.

The music

Traditionally, Sunday is the “winding down” festival day, but festival organizers have worked to boost attendance that night, with a little help from their friends ... yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sunday night, the Beatles tribute band The Britins, a regional favorite, will close out the festival, performing from 6 to 9 p.m.

Beatles bands are big draws at local festivals.

Also performing on Sunday is singer/songwriter Willie Sterba, from noon to 3 p.m.

Opening the festival’s live music lineup on Friday is the classic rock band Trip, performing from 5 to 9 p.m.

“They’re a great Kenosha band,” Kavalauskas said.

Saturday’s band is the very popular Doo Wop Daddies, performing ’50s and ’60s “oldies” from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. (The dance floor is usually full while the Doo Wop Daddies perform. Expect an enthusiastic crowd.)

The car show

A highlight of the festival each year is the car show on Sunday, attracting more than 200 cars.

The car show is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday (rain or shine), with 40-plus awards and trophies given at 3:30 p.m. and dash plaques for the first 75 show cars.

A professional photographer will take photos of all the cars and share them on Facebook, Kavalauskas said.

The fee to show a car is $10; car show “swap spaces” are also available for $10. (Note: Cars should enter the show off of 22nd Avenue, east on 90th Street.) For more information about the show, call John Stancato at 262-620-8239 or David Lee at 262-620-5529.

Other activities

Children’s activities include games and inflatables all three days.

The cash raffle, with a top prize of $5,000, will be awarded Sunday night at 9. This year, there’s also a meat raffle, from Hometown Meats, which can be customized for the winner. The winner will also receive a grill and a chest freezer.

The grounds

A big draw each year at St. Therese is the festival site, which is like a park, with huge trees and plenty of shade.

Those grounds also contain permanent structures that can offer shelter if it rains. There’s also plenty of space for parking.

Beth Sturino, a longtime festival volunteer, said, while church festivals thrive on food, music, games and other activities, the biggest draw is the people.

“I like to go to all the church festivals,” Sturino said, “and what makes it fun is all the people you run into. It’s the camaraderie.”

In addition to the people is the weather. In 2018, rain dampened the festival. The forecast calls for clear skies this weekend with hot weather continuing. Which brings us back to all that welcome shade ...

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