A 5K race, Food Truck Rally, Classic Car Show and entertainment by Hit n Run and Eric Van Houten are among the highlights of the 25th annual St. John Vianney Lawn Fete, taking place July 20-23. The parish is located at 2950 Southwestern Blvd. in Orchard Park.
Festivities will open with the 17th annual 5K Kickoff Run at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20, with runners asked to assemble by 6:15 p.m. The cost to enter the race is $20 for pre-registered adults ($25 day of race) and $13 for children 14 and under ($15 day of race). Race packets can be picked up from 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 18 or after 3 p.m. July 20 in the St. John Vianney School gym. Runners who register by July 1 will receive a free race T-shirt. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top finishers. Walkers are also invited to participate. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 674-9133 for more information.
Friday, July 21, will feature a Food Truck Rally from 5 to 10 p.m., Classic Car Show at 6 p.m., and the music of Hit n Run from 7 to 11 p.m. The Food Truck Rally returns from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 22, with entertainment provided by West Seneca native and rising country music star Eric Van Houten from 7 to 11 p.m.
An outdoor mass will be celebrated at noon Sunday, July 23, followed by a BW’s Chicken & Rib Dinner from 1 to 4 p.m. and music by The New Direction Band — “Western New York’s Chicago Style Polka Band” — from 2 to 5 p.m.
Other weekend-long highlights include games of chance, a beer tent, variety tent, gardening tent, basket raffle and a $25,000 cash giveaway taking place at 5 p.m. Sunday! A Kids’ Tent will feature bounce houses, an inflatable obstacle course, games, prizes, make-your-own cookies, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy and much more. There will also be fireworks displays Friday and Saturday evening, weather permitting.
Food vendors scheduled to participate include Lloyd Taco Truck, R&R BBQ, Just Pizza, The Great Foodini, Cold Stone Creamery, House of Munch and The Cheesy Chick.
For more information on St. John Vianney parish, please visit www.saintjohnvianney.com or call 674-9133. You can also follow the event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SJVLawnFete for frequent updates.
History of the SJV Lawn Fete
Twenty-five years ago, three couples — Ron and Kathy Urbanczyk, Jim and Jane Clark and Larry and Jackie Dubaj — decided to spend the summer visiting local church picnics. Their goal was to research and take notes, allowing them to prepare a master plan that would guarantee a profitable lawn fete for St. John Vianney Parish.
Ron, Jim and Larry presented a plan to then-pastor Fr. Rog, calling for a three-day event to include a beer tent, bands and dinners each night, a gambling tent, amusement rides, a variety tent and a car raffle. Fr. Rog enlisted the help of SJV church organizations to make it work. He said, “I’m in, let’s do it! Here is my $50 for the first beer keg and I will cook the spaghetti.”
The first lawn fete meeting was attended by more than 200 people and all the chair openings were filled that evening. The result of the first lawn fete was a $43,021 profit which paid the parent subsidy for the school and the annual insurance bill.
The rest is history, and 25 years later many of the people who worked the first lawn fete are still involved. During the years there have only been three chairs — Ron Urbanczyk for 10 years, Elana Murphy for 12 years and Debbie Popple for three years.