By Lindsay Doty
What started as a church pitch-in with casseroles and kids running around outside has grown into a massive festival fundraiser with nearly 700 volunteers.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Saint Susanna Summer Festival in Plainfield. It kicks off Thursday evening.
“The carnival rides are up, the tents are up. We are mostly setting up tables and chairs making sure booth people are coming and have all the supplies they need,” Amanda Lu Butcher said.
Butcher is a co-chair of the festival and longtime church member who has been volunteering at the event for nearly two decades.
“It represents what a diverse parish we have,” she added. “It’s become something people look forward to.”
For parishioners of St. Susanna, this year’s event is also a time of remembrance. Two of the parish’s priests–Father Kevin Morris and Father Glenn O’Connor– both passed away this year. Both pastors had been an integral part of growing the fundraiser.
“When Father Kevin Morris first came to the parish he couldn’t believe we were a Catholic church without a festival,” recalls Butcher. “Then when Father Glenn came he wanted to know how can make this bigger and better.”
The popular west side tradition has grown into a large-scale event packed with pork sandwiches, elephant ears, carnival rides, games, music and a chance to mingle with the community.
There will be a gambling tent for adults and plenty of children’s activities, a book fair and face painting.
The three-day festival raises money for the parish and its charities.
Last year, the festival raked in $80,000. The money supports programs like the Gabriel Project, which helps unwed mothers take care of their children.
“We are all in this together and want each other to succeed,” Butcher said. “We have the same goal to help do what God taught us and help the less fortunate.”
Organizers say the event is also a reflection of the camaraderie among Catholic parishes in the area. The Cardinal Ritter Football Team has volunteered to help with clean up.
If you go: St. Susanna Festival
St. Susanna Catholic Church
1210 E. Main St. Plainfield,
June 6, 6-10 p.m.
June 7, 6-11 p.m.
June 8, 6-midnight
Ticket Presale: 12 tickets for $15.00
Onsite tickets: 12 tickets for $18.00
Unlimited ride wristbands: $20 on Thursday and $25 on weekend nights.
There will be a big ticket drawing on Saturday at 10 p.m. You don’t have to be present to win.
Tickets are $50 each or 3 for $125. First prize is a 2019 Kia Soul Base donated by Andy Mohr. Second prize is $1500 and 3rd place gets $1,000. The 4th and 5th place winners will receive $500.
Eats & Drinks:
There will also be a beer and wine tent for adults 21 and up. Cash only.
Beer is $4. Craft is $5. Wine is $4. Cash only.
Thursday: International Cuisine Spotlight Night. Prices vary.
Friday: Pulled Pork Dinner ($9 for meal / $7 sandwich only)
Saturday: Steak Dinner ($15 for meal)
Other Concessions: Corn on the Cob (Friday and Saturday – $2)
Lemon Shake-Ups ($2.50 – $4)
Snow Cones ($1-$2)
Elephant Ears ($5)