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Warmer weekend spurs fund raiser attendance

By Staff | Jan 16, 2011

Despite a slow chilly start Thursday, the annual St. Andrew festival garnered a strong turnout over the weekend as the weather warmed up.
The four-day celebration, which wrapped up Sunday, offered carnival rides, fair fare and a mix of entertainment to raise funds for the Catholic school. Marc Gizzi, event co-chair, said organizers were hoping to raise $100,000 plus – similar to what was raised last year.
“It actually looks like it’s going to turn out to be a safe event,” he said Sunday.
But, attendance figures on that final day appeared “a little down” from 2010. Gizzi cited the dip in temperature on the first day of the festival and the economy for the difference.
“Because of the weather on Thursday,” he said.
Still, many made it out Sunday to enjoy the festivities. Cape Coral resident Brittany Rasmussen was in attendance with her family, including her 2-year-old niece who had never been the church event before.
“She loves it,” Rasmussen said as her niece exited a ride.
“It’s really really nice,” grandmother Laurie Krause said of the festival. “It’s nice for rides, for small kids, too.”
Krause added that the rest of the day would involve games and food
Gizzi explained that alcohol is not sold at the celebration, which “keeps it a little more tamer” and provides for a more family friendly environment. Local law enforcement also serves as security on the grounds, maintaining order and ensuring a safer atmosphere.
Glenn Wiggins, of Fort Myers, dropped by Sunday with his 8-year-old daughter, his brother and his two nieces. First-timers to the festival, Wiggins said it gave the family a chance to get outside and enjoy each other’s company.
“Just spending time with the girls,” he said.
Wiggins added that the festival overall looked like fun.
“It’s a good family thing,” he said.
Asked if he would change anything, Wiggins had only one complaint.
“Parking’s a little tough,” he said.
According to Gizzi, organizers try to change up the rides or entertainment from year to year to keep the event fresh and new. He noted that this year, the church worked with 25 percent to 30 percent fewer volunteers than last year – about 250 to 300 people helped.
In addition to the carnival, the church held a silent auction.
The Texas Hold’em tournament, typically held the same weekend as the festival, has been moved to Friday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. Gizzi said the aim was to give volunteers the chance to participate this year. The buy in is $100 per person and prizes are available.
For more information about the tourney, call 772-3922 or visit: www.standrewcs.org.