KEARNEY — The July floods posed a challenge for organizers of the 2019 Oktoberfest at St. James Catholic Church.
The challenge came when some of the event’s longtime supporters said that because of their flood losses, they would be unable to provide the bedrock donations that have helped ensure success for the fundraiser during the years.
“It’s very important. It’s the main fundraiser after the Sunday collections,” said the Rev. Joe Hannappel of St. James.
The 2018 Oktoberfest netted $23,100. Ninety percent of those proceeds helped with parish expenses and the remaining 10 percent was donated to help people in need.
With so much riding on the success of Oktoberfest, organizers first were surprised that some key donors said they had to sit out this year, but then the organizers found new sponsors and some of the key donors who had said they would be unable to help changed their minds and got out their checkbooks.
With Oktoberfest 2019 back on track, the event’s committee was busy last week mailing drawing tickets to St. James’ 1,200 member families for the numerous drawings planned for the Oct. 6 event.
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Top prize will be $500 cash donated by Sampson Construction, the Norris and Lori Marshall family and Five Points Bank. The Paul and Linda Younes family also donated $500, and it will be second prize in the drawing. In all, more than $2,000 was donated for six cash drawings. Seventh-, eighth- and ninth-place drawing prizes will be a large-screen TV, a grocery shopping spree and Husker football tickets.
In his second year as chairman, Camil Saadi said that Oktoberfest is a key fundraiser for St. James, but it also is an event that draws together people from other faiths who enjoy the atmosphere, the turkey dinner and the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones.
Hannappel agreed with Saadi.
“At Oktoberfest you will meet other parishioners, people from the community and neighboring parishes and towns,” Hannappel said. “Come to enjoy good food, play games, laugh, talk and grow as a disciple.”
Each of St. James families is asked to volunteer for Oktoberfest and to donate $20 for drawing tickets.
Ten percent of Oktoberfest’s proceeds will be given to organizations that help people in need. In 2018, St. James sent $1,155 to the Kearney S.A.F.E. Center to help victims of spousal and sexual abuse and $1,155 to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in O’Neill to provide food and shelter to residents who lost jobs after an immigration raid caused several businesses to close.
Oktoberfest 2019 will be 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at Kearney Catholic High School, 110 E. 35th St. The turkey dinner will feature homemade salads and a dessert bar, along with the traditional fixings, all for $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Kids under age 5 will eat for free.
Other activities will be a silent auction, bake sale, craft sale, bingo, carnival, pumpkin decorating and the prize drawings.