Festivities in no short supply at Festival on First

T-R FILE PHOTO The annual Festival on First will be held 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday in front of St. Mary Catholic Church campus. It will offer food, kids’ activities, raffles and live music.

Food, fun and faith are the three components of the annual Festival on First.

The event will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday in front of St. Mary Catholic Church campus, 107 S. First Street, sponsored by St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Coordinator Sister Christine Feagan said the festivities are an open invitation for folks who attend St. Mary’s parish and those who do not to come together to enjoy the food, games and activities its parishioners will be offering.

“It’s really exciting because we’ve asked people to help with kids’ games, selling tickets, food and cleanup who haven’t been a part of this before that are going to experience it for the first time,” she said.

Live music will be offered, as well as kids’ activities including inflatables and face painting, games, raffle prizes and lots of food.

Homemade cuisine will include the fare of Mexico and Central America and include:

• Enchiladas.

• Elote.

• Posole.

• Tamales.

• Tortas.

• Quesadillas.

• Tacos.

• Burritos.

• Pupusas.

• Redonditas de chicharron.

• Empanadas, which are new this year.

Meats will be grilled and tortillas prepped on-site. Dairy Queen blizzards will be available, as well as cakes, bars, cookies, fresh fruit cups and horchata. Hot dogs, pork burgers, chips, soda and lemonade are the other treats that will be for sale.

“I joke this is the only festival I know of where you can get a pupusa and a Blizzard,” Father Alan Dietzenbach said.

Associate priest Rev. Michael McAndrew, who joined Saint Francis of Assisi parish in July, will be performing operatic songs in several languages. A harpist will also be on hand. Mexican folklore music will be performed and the church’s Sunday evening praise group will also entertain attendees.

Raffle prizes include household items, toys, small appliances and gift cards to local businesses. There will be three instant raffles drawn during the course of the event. Raffle tickets cost $1 or six for $5.

Funds raised go to general operating expenses.

At 1:45 p.m., Rev. Dietzenbach will bless the newly installed cross atop of St. Mary’s. It is Celtic in design — a nod to the church’s Irish roots. The first Catholic parish in Marshalltown was established 150 years ago — in 1869 — and was called Immaculate Conception, before the name was changed to St. Mary’s. In July, St. Henry and St. Mary Catholic churches in Marshalltown, as well as Immaculate Conception Oratory in Haverhill, unified as St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, the parish office may be reached at 641-752-6278.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

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