Folks at St. Patrick’s Church in Kankakee know a good thing when they see one, and that’s the case with their annual Half-Paddy Fest celebrated every year around Sept. 17.

A donut-eating contest was a highlight for children. (Photos by Sara Hodak)

This year’s fest — its 11th annual — took place Sept. 15 and 16 and it drew a record crowd of families with their children, and lovers of all things Irish.

Live Irish bands were a big draw

A packed lineup of four live Irish bands took the stage Friday night, with patrons enjoying the selections of Irish nachos and corned beef sandwiches, as well as their favorite beverages from inside the beer tent. The fun continued starting at noon on Saturday, with the first of five live bands taking the main stage.

A human foosball game was a big hit

At the same time, children found an array of activities — from face painting and a donut-eating contest, to a human foosball game.

Fr. John Peeters promotes one of the raffle prizes: a Cubs’ golf cart

“It was a complete success,” said Fr. John Peeters, CSV, pastor. “The weatherman cooperated, the food was delicious, the music was loud, and people came out in droves.”

While the festival raises money for parish expenses, what it really does is energize and connect members of the parish with one another.

It all comes under the heading of “building up communities of faith,” which is one of the main pillars of the Viatorian Community.