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Crazy cash prizes, local craft beer and homemade cabbage rolls? This is not your average church festival

This is not your average church festival.

The St. Helen Spring Festival in Riverside is now is its 65th year. That’s pretty remarkable considering how some longstanding Catholic church festivals have come to an end in recent years — Immaculate Conception ended 59 years of festivals in 2014, with Ascension’s also came to an end after more than 30 years in 2015.

This year’s event, running June 8-10, has some of the familiar attractions that bring generations of people back year after year. But there are also a few things that make it pretty special.

If you’ve never been, or haven’t been in a while, here are some great reasons to break that streak this year:

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DAYTON CRAFT BEER

The Dayton-area's newest local brewery, Devil Wind, hosted its grand opening on Friday, March 30, 2018. The 3,000-square-foot brewery is located at 130 S. Detroit St. in downtown Xenia, just steps from the bike path. The brewery’s partners include Hatfield, Doug Lane, Michael Van Kirk and Perry Wyatt. PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM PHOTOGRAPHY (Tom Gilliam)

Now it’s true lots of festivals have beer, and thank goodness for that. However, not all have craft beer. This year St. Helen’s Festival will have 12 craft beer taps featuring beers from Warped Wing Brewing Company, Hairless Hare Brewery and Xenia’s newest brewery, Devil Wind.

>>PHOTOS: Inside the Dayton-area’s newest local brewery

They’ll also be serving up favorites like Miller Lite, Summer Shandy, Strongbow and many more. No matter your drink preference, you should be able to find an adult beverage to keep you cool all weekend long. 

>>Warped Wing’s John Haggerty, our Daytonian of the Week, celebrates 25 years of brewing this weekend

LOCAL FOOD

Let’s face it: this is the real reason most of us hit festivals, and St. Helen’s is notorious for its delicious food at reasonable prices. 

The kitchen offers several delicious options, but the cabbage rolls are the stars of the show.

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“We’re known for our cabbage rolls. We’ve always had them,” Marketing and Publicity Co-Chair Colleen Kirby said. “We make our cabbage rolls in-house every year from scratch. They are amazing.”

Holy Smokes BBQ returns to the event for its third year as well.  Meanwhile, the bake sale inside the school features pastries of virtually every variety.

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The homemade cabbage rolls are the stock in trade of the St. Helen Festival every year. (Contributed)

GAMES OF CHANCE

One of the festival’s biggest attractions has been the various booths where you can wager to donate or win small amounts of money. But the St. Helen raffles are no joke. $100 winners will be announced every hour throughout the weekend and winners need not be present to win. What’s more, there will be a $1,000 winner announced for Friday and Saturday each, with a $10,000 winner named Sunday evening. Not a bad incentive to get out of the house for a few hours.

Gambling for money is almost as old as time. But what about gambling for cake

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“We have a cake booth. You buy a ticket, you put your number down and spin the wheel. If it lands on your number, you get to pick out a cake,” Kirby explained.

Another St. Helen tradition is the basket raffles where prize packages worth a minimum of $200 are up for grabs. Some of the baskets include things like a Nintendo Switch, American Girl merchandise, Vera Bradley bags, a Gatlinburg package, a Yeti cooler, an Apple Watch and more.

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With prizes ranging from NFL tickets to cabin getaways, each St. Helen Fest basket is a haul to behold. (Contributed)

LOCAL BANDS

St. Helen Spring Festival organizers have always worked to provide a multitude of musicians to please the crowds over the years. This year, there are going to be TWO stages going all day. 

Here are the schedules: 

Carroll Patriots Stage

Friday June 8th:

6:30 p.m. - Boss Hawg

9:00 p.m. - Five Story Plunge

Saturday June 9th:

1:30 p.m. - Southbound

4:00 p.m. - Mad Hatter

6:30 p.m. - The Scotty Bratcher Band

9:00 p.m. - Spungewurthy

Sunday June 10th:

12:30 p.m. - The Hathaways

3:30 p.m. - Hey There Morgan

6:00 p.m. - Ithika

Tuty's Bar & Grill Stage

Friday June 8th:

6:30 p.m. - Five

9:30 p.m. - The Doug Hart Band

Saturday June 9th:

1:00 p.m. - Amateur City

2:30 p.m. - Kevin Obergefell

4:00 p.m. - Kellen Williams Trio

6:00 p.m. - Last Call

9:30 p.m. - The Eric Jerardi Band

Sunday June 10th:

12:00 p.m. - Todd the Fox

2:00 p.m. - The Wallens

4:30 p.m. - Ira Stanley & Blues Power

6:30 p.m. - Flat Out

FAMILY FRIENDLY FUN

Despite the various booze and gambling options, organizers maintain this festival is not just for adults. Aside from almost a dozen rides, St. Helen will have a section with activities just for kids such as face painting. 
“I think sometimes, because of the beer and the bands, people think that it’s more of an adult affair. I think once it starts to get dark, it turns into more of an adult thing, but during the day it’s all about the kids,” said Westerfield

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PARKING

Free parking is available on the hill behind St. Helen School. You can get to the parking lot from the Granville Place entrance.  There will be handicapped parking available as well as a shuttle service, which is new this year. 

If you want to catch the shuttle, park in the additional off-site parking at Carroll High School. 

Shuttle Schedule:

Friday June 8th - 7 p.m. to 12;30 a.m.

Saturday June 9th - 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Sunday June 10th - 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

 

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: 65th Annual St. Helen Spring Festival

WHERE: 5086 Burkhardt Road, Riverside

WHEN: Friday, June 8 from 6:30 p.m.-midnight; Saturday, June 9 from 1 p.m.-midnight; and Sunday, June 10 from noon to 9 p.m.  

COST: Free admission

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