It’s no small feat to mount a parish-wide picnic. Think children’s rides, a country store, raffle prizes, music and a complete barbequed chicken dinner. But parishioners at St. George Church in Bourbonnais have done just that, for 76 years now, and the tradition continues to be a highlight for the entire parish.

Children enjoy water toys.

“I’m always impressed to see the way that the St. George community comes together to make this annual event such a special celebration in the cornfields,” says Fr. Daniel Belanger, CSV, Pastor.

Fr. Dan Belanger was a favorite target.

Summerfest took place Sunday. Children enjoyed going down the inflatable slides and riding in the tractor-pulled barrel train, while adults enjoyed live music, perusing the unique items offered in the “country store,” and relaxing amid the parish’s expansive gardens.

But the real success is measured at the grill, where families devoured more than 1,500 pieces of barbequed chicken, or 200 more than last year.

Summerfest starts with Mass, celebrated in the 150-year old St. George Church, before parishioners head outdoors for a full afternoon of fun and fellowship.

“The day offers a chance for people to come together,” Fr. Dan adds, “and share stories of 76 years of Summerfest.”

Men prepare the grill.

The event also serves as a fundraiser, with proceeds benefitting the parish’s general operating budget. But the enduring tradition of Summerfest continues to embody the Viatorians’ mission of “building up communities where faith is lived, deepened and celebrated.”