Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church will host its annual FunFest on Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27 on the grounds of the church, 3155 S. 200 West (Dixon Rd).  The public is invited to attend.

“This is the 8th edition of the Fun Fest and we are always trying to do things to keep it fresh and exciting,” said FunFest chairperson, Jan Marrah. “New this year is the ‘Mock Rock Lip Sync Battle’ on Friday night, and Gary Rhum & Visual Signals on Saturday night.

“The lip sync will be hosted by (St. Joan of Arc pastor) Fr. Arbuckle and will consist of several guest competitors,” Marrah continued. “The winner will receive $100 and will be chosen by the audience.”

While the SJA FunFest has always included live music, this year’s act represents a new direction.

“Previous acts have been from out of town, but we decided it was time to highlight some of the amazing local talent and Gary Rhum was an obvious choice,” Marrah said. “He not only is as talented as anyone around, he has been a huge supporter of our school, and of local music in general.”

Festivities begin on Friday evening and will kick-off with Dan’s Fish & Tenderloin from Fry 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. The price is $10 per person, $6 for kids (6-12), while ages 5 and younger are free.  Prior to the “Mock Rock Lip Sync Battle”, the band Higher Ground will provide musical entertainment on the Terrace from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. 

“The children’s inflatables and bouncy houses will be open during the fish fry on Friday, and again on Saturday,” Marrah said.

Saturday’s activities start at 5:00 p.m. immediately following the 4:00 pm Mass when Rhum & his band Visual Signals take over the Terrace from 5:30 – 9:00 pm. 

In addition to the bouncy houses, there will be a number of games complete with prizes for the younger crowd from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. 

The adults will have their own entertainment available on the lower terrace with a Beer Garden open from 5:00 to 10:00 pm with Black Jack tables open from 6:00 to 10:00 pm.

The FunFest concludes with its popular – and spectacular – fireworks display over Emerald Lake which begins at approximately 9:15 pm. 

FunFest publicity chair, Mary Baker, said the variety of offerings makes it an event for all ages and tastes.

“There are enough activities that regardless of whether you are a more active type of personality or someone seeking a laid-back evening, Funfest has something right up your alley,” Baker said. 

In addition to the activities, there will be a variety of food options for purchase at the “Snack Shack” including pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, tacos-in-a-bag, nachos, popcorn, and snow cones. Drink will include Coke products and water.

While this is the 8th year of Funfest at St. Joan, the event has had many incarnations from parish picnics at the former Stellite (now Oakbrook) Park, to community festivals at the old Palmer School building, to the International Festivals held at the church’ former location on Purdum Street.

Volunteer Marcia Eckstein has been a part of many of them over the past twenty years or so, and shared some of the history.

“The event has been in November around the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as October, and September over the years,” Eckstein said. “I remember September because it was my anniversary and it rained all day and was quite a mess. The festival was always a parish celebration, but it also had the surrounding community in mind and so the dates were adjusted to make sure as many people could attend as possible.”

FunFest is St Joan of Arc’s primary fundraiser to support the parish’s general fund and the over 80 ministries which provides much needed services and programs to parishioners, but also to our community at large, and as far away as Haiti. 

“Amy Pitzer, a long time parishioner who was on one of the committees was the first to suggest holding it in the summer time and having a carnival atmosphere to attract more people,” Eckstein added. “It has been one of the more popular changes in all the years we have held parish festivals.”

Marrah agreed.

“The St. Joan of Arc FunFest is very much a parish event in that it is put on by the church as a celebration of our parish family,” Marrah said. “But the community around is a central part of our spiritual life, and outreach is very much a part of who we are as a faith community. Our unofficial them is ‘Food, Fun, Faith and Friendship’ and the Funfest exemplifies all of those.

“We hope to see a lot of new faces join us for the two days.”

The Pastor and parishioners proudly consider St. Joan of Arc Parish a welcoming and active Catholic community on the south side of Kokomo. For more information about the St. Joan of Arc FunFest, please contact the parish office at 865-9964 or visit the website, www.saintjoan.org.