It's a milestone year for St. Christopher Catholic Church's festival.

The annual event will turn 20 this weekend.

"It's hard to believe it's been two decades," said Joan Gillis, who has been helping to coordinate the festival from the first year.

Gillis is serving again this year as the auction chairwoman for the festival, which will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, June 28, and 5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the church, 1420 Grandview Ave.

The second day of the fest will be held the same evening as the first Grandview Hop of the summer.

"It's a reciprocal thing. We both benefit from the other event," Gillis said.

"Some people who come to the festival head down to the Hop and we get people who are there for the Hop who are curious about what's happening at the church," said Jackie O'Reilly, St. Christopher's business manager.

The festival is especially attractive for people with children, O'Reilly said.

Rides for small children to teenagers again will be offered at the festival, and the event also will have games and activities for children, plus games of chance for adults, she said.

All of the food served at the festival will be prepared on-site by church members, O'Reilly said.

The menu will include Italian sausage, burgers, brats, pizza, French fries and deep-fried Snickers bars, as well as dessert items.

"There's always a lot of sweet treats for people to enjoy," Gillis said.

Entertainment will include the Conspiracy Band on the first night of the festival and the Professors the second night. Both bands will perform at 8 p.m.

Through both nights, visitors will be able to offer their bids at the festival's annual silent auction, held in the Trinity Catholic School cafeteria adjacent to the church.

The items up for bid will include a Harry Potter Hogwarts robe, four tickets to the Ohio State University football opener and a mini-helmet signed by Buckeyes great Archie Griffin.

An assortment of gift cards, baskets and bags has been donated by stores and restaurants along or near Grandview Avenue, Gillis said, and the auction will include items made and donated by church members.

"There are some perennial homemade items that people look forward to bidding on," Gillis said. "We call them, 'caramels by Quigley, granola by Yeldell and buckeye trees by Blanche.' Everyone who goes to our church knows exactly who you're talking about."

Bids will be accepted until 9 p.m. June 29 and the winning bids will be announced at 9:45 p.m., she said. The winning bidders can pick up their items at the festival, the two following days in the cafeteria, or may arrange to pick them up later at the church office, she said.

The proceeds from a 50/50 raffle will be split between the holder of the winning ticket and the church. Raffle tickets cost $1 each or a dozen for $10. The drawing will be held about 9 p.m. June 30. The winner need not be present.

The festival serves as a major fundraiser for St. Christopher, O'Reilly said.

Proceeds primarily are used to help pay for general maintenance and operating expenses, she said.

The festival was the brainchild of the Rev. Art Wiles, the late pastor who served St. Christopher 20 years ago, Gillis said.

"He thought it was time for our church to hold its own festival. He's really the one who got it started and we've carried it forward," she said. "He said it really wasn't about making money, but about creating a neighborly and fun event for the entire community."

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