St. Joseph to host 80th Fourth of July celebration

From staff reports

St. Joseph Parish will host its 80th annual Fourth of July celebration from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursday, July 4, on the parish grounds in Lucinda.

As a post-festival finale, St. Joseph’s Liberty 5K run/walk will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 6, at the historic Lucinda Train Station and an 80th Anniversary Square Dance will also be held from 8 to 11 p.m. on July 6 at St. Joseph Parish Hall.

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.; take-outs will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner ticket sales open at 10 a.m. and are $9 for adults; $4.50 for children 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, extensive Chinese auction and children’s features.

A cornerstone feature is the handmade quilts with approximately 20 slated to be awarded throughout the day at the quilt tent, silent auction and Rosary Society booth.

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

Called-number games begin at 11:30 a.m. in the lower level of the social hall and will continue throughout the afternoon.

Three special games will be held at noon, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Grand prize drawing, featuring a $5,000 cash prize, gift certificates, game system, other major cash awards and a dual function grill 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 annual celebration has become a Lucinda tradition that dates back to the early 1900’s, and certainly back to 1939, having its roots in the church’s original summertime picnics that were held near Groner Spring in Huefner. It is now the community’s largest event of the summer.

As they’ve done for over 75 years, 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 at the covered outdoor dining area which can seat 150 to 200 people. For a quick snack or lighter fare, a concession stand will also be available featuring hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages.

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 4th eager to take home one of these beautiful handmade pieces.

A minimum of 15 quilts will be offered this year including a first-rate variety of cross-stitched, pieced, embroidered and appliqued quilts with a limited number available for direct purchase. Three will be featured in a silent auction. A preview of the quilts is available at

Entertainment details are being finalized; among the musicians scheduled to perform are bluegrass band “Keep off the Grass,” and traditional Celtic and folk music group “Anam Cara.”

Games of skill and chance, a variety of booths and a Chinese auction round out the festivities. The festival will conclude with the grand prize drawing at 4 p.m. Altogether, over $40,000 in cash and prizes is to be awarded throughout the day.

Proceeds from all festival activities help defray the operational costs of St. Joseph Catholic School, one of the oldest Catholic schools in the Erie Diocese. Quality educational programs are provided to children enrolled in pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade.

The celebration will be held rain or shine on the canopy-covered parish grounds. The children’s playground is adjacent to the festivities and St. Joseph Church, erected in 1893, will be open to visitors.

The parish complex is located at 112 Rectory Lane along State Route 66 in Lucinda (Interstate-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, access Facebook @stjoseph4thofjuly or call (814) 226-7288.

Registration for the Liberty 5K run/walk begins at 7:30 a.m. July 6, at the restored train station. The race starts at 9 a.m. on the nearby Rail 66 Country Trail. The Rail 66 Country Trail is a non-motorized; four-season trail that stretches 13 miles through the scenic countryside of northern Clarion County on the historic Knox-Kane railroad bed, which has been paved with a runner-friendly surface.

The run will be held rain or shine and music will be provided by Absolute Clarion disc jockey services.

The Lucinda Train Station is located at 1040 Lander Drive in Lucinda and can be accessed via Maple Drive, which is the first left immediately following St. Joseph Church on State Route 66 north.

Pre-registration is encouraged. Forms are available at; Facebook @StJoesLiberty5K; or by calling (814) 226-7288. Proceeds benefit St. Joseph School.

The 80th Anniversary Square Dance is a throwback to earlier festivals where a traditional square dance was held on festival night.

This year’s event will begin with lessons at 7:30 p.m. followed by dancing from 8 to 11 p.m. on July 6. Music will be provided by Square Root band and proceeds benefit St. Joseph School.