The official start to summer is June 21, but for many, the new season is signified by something else. It could be the end of the school year, the first family camping trip or the opening of a community swimming pool.
At St. Catherine Parish, summer comes early when it hosts its annual Fun Fest.
In its 21st year, the Fun Fest -- to be held today, June 6, through Saturday, June 8 -- features carnival rides and games in addition to food, a beer garden, live entertainment and a raffle with a grand prize of $2,500.
"What's really unique about this festival is that the church is in the middle of the neighborhood, so it's the border between Bexley and Columbus' East Side, so it really is like a true kickoff to summer for the whole area," said festival organizer Amy Huggins.
Fun Fest kicks off at 5 p.m. today with the always-anticipated smoked pulled pork dinner and a talent show. Local band MoJoFlo will take the stage at 8 p.m.
On Friday, June 7, Mix 107.9 radio personality Mark Dantzer will host Big Bad Music Trivia from 5 to 8 p.m., when the Almost Brothers Band take over to perform classic rock and pop music.
A church service under the big tent at 4 p.m. starts the final day of the festival Saturday, June 8. The Rick Brunetto Big Band will take the stage at 7 p.m. and following its performance, the winners of the raffle and silent auction will be announced. Silent auction items include sports, entertainment and garden-themed gift baskets as well as a vacation to Hilton Head Island.
The Fun Fest midway is open 5 to 11 p.m. each day. Ride wristbands are $10 and ride tickets are 50 cents each. Entry to the festival is free.
For more information on Fun Fest and for a complete schedule of events, visit scfunfest.com.
-- Melissa Dilley