St. Joseph Church hosts 77th annual Fourth of July

Maggie Lewis, 3, with dad Craig of Shippenville, plucked three ducks from the duck pond at the St. Joseph Fourth of July Celebration and won a ring that, for now, fits on her thumb. (By Tom DiStefano)
From staff reports

LUCINDA – St. Joseph Parish will host its 77th annual Fourth of July celebration from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday, July 4, on the parish grounds in Lucinda. As a pre-festival kick-off, St. Joseph’s Liberty 5K run/walk will take place at 7 p.m. July 3, at the Antler Club in Lucinda. Highlights of the festivities on July 4 include:

Traditional all-you-can-eat chicken and ham dinners, featuring homemade pie and soup with their famous homemade noodles. Dining room serving is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; takeout dinners will be available 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner ticket sales open at 10 a.m. Dinner prices are $8.50 for adults; $4 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children under 6.

Grounds open at 11 a.m. featuring games of skill and chance for all ages, a concessions stand, Chinese auction and children’s features. A cornerstone feature is the quilt tent where over 15 handmade quilts are slated to be awarded throughout the day.

Musicians will provide live entertainment beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing into the afternoon hours.

Called-number games begin at noon in the lower level of the social hall and will continue throughout the afternoon. Two special games will be held at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Grand prize drawing, featuring a $5,000 cash prize, gift certificates, outdoor items, other major cash awards and a Phantom 3 Drone is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Planning, which began in January, is nearly complete and parishioners are gearing up to treat guests to a generous home-cooked meal, games, prizes and entertainment. The celebration originally began as a late summer parish picnic around the early 1900s, but in 1939 it became an established Fourth of July tradition. It is now Lucinda’s largest community event of the season.

Members of the St. Joseph Rosary Society will again be the chief coordinators of the all-you-can-eat dinner.The mouthwatering menu includes the chicken and ham entre, a bowl of the parish’s signature noodle soup, hand-mashed potatoes with gravy, coleslaw, vegetable, bread, beverage, and a slice of homemade pie for dessert.

Each year, the society’s members and friends combine 400 pounds of flour and 180 dozen eggs into bushels of noodles – enough to fill the nearly 2,000 bowls of soup served during the festival. Visitors can opt to eat in the social hall dining room or purchase take-out dinners to eat on picnic tables located on the grounds.

For lighter fare, a concession area will also be available featuring snacks, beverages, hot dogs and hamburgers.

A cornerstone of the celebration is the quilt tent. During the fall and winter months, the ladies of the parish gathered to craft several handmade quilts.The tops were made in the ladies’ homes prior to the “quilting bees” which are held in the church’s social hall.

Festival patrons, some armed with lawn chairs, encircle the tent each July 4, eager to take home one of these beautiful hand-stitched pieces. Over 15 quilts will be offered this year including a first-rate variety of cross-stitched, candlewicking, pieced, embroidered and appliqud quilts. A limited number will be available for purchase and a preview of the quilts is available at

Games of skill and chance, a variety of booths, and a Chinese auction round out the celebration, and the children’s playground is adjacent to the festivities.

Entertainment details are being finalized; among the musicians scheduled to perform are bluegrass band “Keep off the Grass,” traditional Celtic band “Cluricaun,” singer and songwriter, Daniel Stockwell, “Picks & Hammers” featuring Americana and traditional Appalachian Mountain music and country music singer Kiera Gabler.

The festival will conclude with the grand prize drawing at 4 p.m. Altogether, over $40,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded throughout the day.

The parish complex is located at 112 Rectory Lane along State Route 66 in Lucinda (I-80 Exit 60, State Route 66 north 10 miles) and is a short drive from Cook Forest State Park.

The grounds are handicap accessible. Parking areas surround the grounds and a parking shuttle will be available. Reserved parking spaces will be available for those who cannot attend the festival but want to purchase a carry-out dinner.

For more information visit, call (814) 226-7288 or access the event on Facebook.

Registration for the Liberty 5K run/walk begins at 5:30 p.m. July 3, with the race starting at 7 p.m. The event will also be held rain or shine. The Antler Club is located at 231 Sunset Drive in Lucinda (Sunset Drive is located off State Route 66 North, immediately following the parish grounds). Pre-registration is encouraged and entries postmarked by June 16, guarantee a t-shirt.