Pueblo’s largest church festival celebrates 60th anniversary

  • Church Festival Celebrates 60 Years
    Church Festival Celebrates 60 Years

    St. Joseph Catholic Church located at 1145 S. Aspen Road in Blende, was founded in 1948. [COURTESY PHOTO]

  • Church Festival Celebrates 60 Years
    Church Festival Celebrates 60 Years

    Each year, members of the church make well over 1,000 ladyfinger cookies for the St. Joseph Church Festival. [COURTESY PHOTO]

  • Church Festival Celebrates 60 Years
    Church Festival Celebrates 60 Years

    The St. Joseph Church Festival draws in around 30,000 people each year. The Festival was founded 60 years ago. [COURTESY PHOTO]

BY ANTHONY MESTAS | The Pueblo Chieftain | JULY 29, 2019

As the summer winds down, there’s one last party before the Colorado State Fair and that’s the St. Joseph’s Church Festival – the largest of its kind in Pueblo.

It the festival’s 60th anniversary and Pastor Joseph Vigil said plenty of preparation has been underway since the end of January.

The festival is scheduled to kick off Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. It will continue Aug. 3 from noon to 10:30 p.m. and again on Aug. 4 from 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There will be a Mass at 11 a.m. Celebrated by Diocese of Pueblo Bishop Stephen Berg.

“It started 60 years ago by the St. Joseph community parish to raise money for baseball teams. It started growing and growing,” Vigil said.

“It’s the largest of the catholic church festivals in Pueblo. There are 18 softball teams competing in a tournament during the festival on the church fields.”

The parish, which started in 1948 by the Jesuit Fathers, draws around 30,000 people in three days.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring people together. This festival s all the festivals in the diocese draws people from all over Pueblo and also from the outside communities,” Vigil said.

“St. Joseph is a very active parish.”

The original church was in nearby Salk Creek only a few blocks away from where it stands today at 1145 S. Aspen Road in Blende. The new church was built in 1981.

Vigil said the ladies and gentlemen of the parish just finished this week baking their popular ladyfinger cookies inside the Fr. Charles J. Murray Parish Hall.

The ladyfinger has become so popular at St. Joseph’s that producing enough to meet demand has turned into a pretty big effort.

Dozens of volunteers -- mostly women but a few men, too --their ages ranging from 8 to 90, spend days baking, frosting and bagging the ladyfingers for sale at the church’s annual festival.

“We made over 15,000 ladyfingers. We started Monday (July 22) morning and just finished. This is a great item at the festival. People love their ladyfingers. It’s a great enthusiasm for the parish,” Vigil said.

“We have a dedicated parish of volunteers that put the festival together year after year.”

Like most festivals in town this one will offer food, games, raffles, local entertainment and fellowship.

Unique to this festival is its popular Richard Duvall Memorial Horseshoe Tournament alongside the Annual Bud Comfort Memorial Softball Tournament.

Vigil said volunteers will begin setting up the site this week.

“This brings so many communities together as we celebrate not only St. Joseph our patron saint but also thanking God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon us in this community,” Vigil said.

“The church festivals are great for the diocese. We bring people together and we celebrate our Roman Catholic traditions.”

For more information visit: https://stjosephparish-pueblo.com/st-joseph-festival-2019.

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Twitter: @mestas3517

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