No rain, big day

FRYBURG — With rain and thunderstorms expected all weekend including Sunday, the Fryburg Homecoming Festival escaped the remnants of Hurricane Isaac when it came time for the one-day event.

The rain held off despite overcast skies as the small community held the 122nd annual event Sunday

“We were all scared of the rain,” festival chair Cindy Koenig said. “Basically it turned out to be a perfect evening. I think people were praying for it.”

It marked the third consecutive year that possible bad weather held off for the event, the main fundraiser for the St. John Catholic Church in the community. The church is one of the oldest in the state at 162 years old and retains its brick and stucco exterior and its frescoed ceiling. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the second oldest church in the Cincinnati Archdiocese that hasn’t experienced significant structural damage.

“It is what keeps our church running all year,” Koenig said. “We have a lot of people that have been attending here for a number of years.”

While many stood in long lines to wait for the turtle soup that has made the festival popular, while other attendees also enjoyed many other patrons enjoyed bingo, kid’s rides and games, other concessions, a beer tent and a raffle featuring a top prize of $1,000. A children’s tractor pull excited both parents and children alike.

The church sold the 200 gallons of turtle soup it made for the event as well as 90 gallons of chicken noodle soup. The festival kept with its annual tradition of affordable prices, keeping the event popular with families. A family of four could typically enjoy supper and plenty of activities in the $40 range or less. Event staff said the festival has only had rain twice in its 122 years. More than $8,000 was given away during the raffle drawing, a record for the event.

While attendance and financial tallies were not yet available, Koenig anticipates the festival surpassed last year’s totals, in which approximately $40,000 was made and approximately 3,000 people attended.

“It seems to grow bigger every year,” Koenig said.