St. Mary’s Festival dazzles crowds all weekend


By Portia Williams - [email protected]



The 2016 International Festival hosted by Saint Mary of the Annunciation Church held over the weekend attracted thousands.

Tim Paul, co-chairperson of the International Festival, said the new layout for the International Festival has been advantageous.

“It is great. We have the new layout here. We’ve got the new concrete that is spread out,” Paul said. “We miss the old school building, but it was getting old and had a lot of stairs. So now we have bigger tents and more room for everybody. Last night the Shane Runion Band was fantastic. We had the biggest crowd ever, and good sells on everything. Shane is a local boy, and he is very talented, and loves it. I have already booked him for next year’s Festival.”

All of the activities for the event have been going remarkably well, Paul said.

“The silent auction has been going well. We brought the inflatables out front here, so it is way better,” Paul said. “Families can be closer together, and eat while the children play on the inflatables right next to dining area. The flea market is over in the new building now, and all of the food preparation is there. The layout is just great now, much more convenient.”

In addition to the live performance by the Shane Runion Band, Josh Stewart, and Don’t Know Jack—-Jack Vetter Band, and Gary Billups & The Music Department also captivated audiences at the International Festival with their musical talents. Festival attendees enjoyed the Antique Custom Car and Truck Show which featured more than 100 cars, and the Crafts and Quilt Show.

The International Festival was composed of tantalizing Cajun food, food from the Philippines, Germany, Mexico, Appalachia, and plenty of desserts. Food from India was a new addition to the Festival. The Biergarten was on site, offering beer supplied by Portsmouth Brewing Company.

“This year we have the Indian cuisine, and it is wonderful,” Paul said. “It is really going to catch on, and I tell everyone to go and try it. So everything has been just right.”

Fr. Adam Streitenberger of St. Mary of the Annunciation Church, said Friday night’s concert by the Shane Runion Band was amazing.

“Last night was a huge crowd, and Shane Runion did such a beautiful job,” Streitenberger said. “And it was a full moon as well. We are just praying that the rain holds back, so that we can have a good night tonight (Saturday), and then a good day tomorrow afternoon, Sunday afternoon.”

Rick Estep, co-chairperson of the International Festival, said this years Festival was a great success.

“Last night’s concert was absolutely phenomenal. It was fabulous,” Estep said. “The coverage, the volunteerism, the community gathering is almost becoming something so phenomenal that words cannot fully express. I want to thank The Portsmouth Daily Times, and your coverage on this, as well as the sponsors and the many, many volunteers that came to help make the 2016 St. Mary’s International Festival a great success.”

In speaking of the volunteerism, members of the kitchen crew of the International Festival said there is one volunteerism who gave an astronomical amount of time and effort, Ed Schwamberger, a member of St. Mary’s of the Annunciation Church.

“He spends a lot of time here, and I want people to appreciate his efforts,” Barbara Schwamberger said. “He has helped out with this event for at least 10 years or more. He cooks the German food, and part of some of the other food.

Ed Schwamberger, said he enjoys doing good things for St. Mary’s, and for the community.

“It is just about being a part of St. Mary’s and doing good things for St. Mary’s, that’s it,” Schwamberger said. “Everything we do here goes back to the community, and that’s the important thing.”

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By Portia Williams

[email protected]

Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.

Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.

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