By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
The smell of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs weren't the only things in the air outside of St. Joseph's Catholic Church for its Fest-of-All on Sunday.
The air also was filled with the scent of German sausages, spicy Mexican foods, Puerto Rican foods, Philippine foods, Polish foods, and the music of those and several other cultures.
Fest-of-All is a long-standing tradition for St. Joseph's Catholic Church, one that brings the elements of all the cultures that the church's congregation represent as well as serving as a fundraiser, said Father Adam Martinez, St. Joseph's pastor.
"They have been doing this for over 20 years," Martinez said. "It is basically a plain ol' church fundraiser, but it give us a change to show the diversity of the cultures here in Killeen."
The congregation of St. Joseph's is made up of about 20 different cultures, Martinez said. Out of the five services, one is conducted in Spanish. Several special services throughout the year are presented in the other languages.
The event brings also provides fellowship for the church as groups get together to cook and just enjoy the Sunday afternoon together.
While Martinez sees everyone in the congregation every week, many of the church members do not, he said.
"All the sudden they have this awesome invitation to be connected," Martinez said.
About 32 people came to help the Sociedad Cultural Hispanoamericanca Society cook Puerto Rican food, said Jose Rodriguez, who manned the booth dishing out portions of stuffed beef potatoes, turnovers with beef and more.
"It is very rewarding because you see all the people of the church," Rodriguez said about Fest-of-All. "It is very important to us, because we say church first."
While children played in bounce houses, tossed rings on soda bottles and played many other games, parents conversed, listened to a variety of music, and watched the cultural dances.
"I think it is a good event," said Monroe Stinson, of Austin, who attends St. Joseph's. "It opens your eyes to a lot of different cultures."
Fest-of-All is specially important to children, Stinson said. It is these kinds of events that teach children of the world's cultures.
A total of 21 groups performed at Fest-of-All. It ranged from the church's organization like the St. Joseph's Catholic School Pre Kindergarten to third graders to a barbershop quartet, dance groups like Cultura Filipinianna and the Harker Heights High School Crimson Belles.
The food was donated to the church and then sold. There also was a silent auction, a raffle and T-shirts sold as additional fundraisers.
This year the money raised is going to help construct a large multipurpose building on the church grounds, Martinez said.
No matter how many years St. Joseph's puts on Fest-of-All, it is never the same, Martinez said.
"I think was is so different this year is there is a lot more interest and a lot more people," Martinez said.
Contact Mason W. Canales at email@example.com or (254) 501-7554.