St. Thomas Aquinas Church Fest On Brink of a Record

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Hundreds of cars packed the parking lot of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on Sunday, as folks came to celebrate AquinasFest 2007.

This year's festival chairman Jesse Alvarez said for more than 20 years, the church has put on the carnival-styled event as a fundraiser.

"The funds are used for many purposes but mostly for the community, Alvarez said. “The money goes toward church and community projects and that helps out everybody."

Alvarez estimates some 2,000 people touched church grounds to eat barbecue, snow cones, enjoy music, and take part in a very lively auction.

Many parishioners believe the pastor, Father Michael O’Connor’s decision to move the fest back to the church from the site on Tabor Road may be the reason why.

Randy Bond, who brought out his family, said the church's location right off Highway 6 cannot hurt.

"I think with it being right here on the highway it's good exposure for the church," Bond said.

Church officials are still in the process of totaling the amount of money raised for this year’s fest.

Preliminary sums show the auction portion alone raised $40,000. Officials say odds are really good that AquinasFest 2007 will easily surpass last year's total of about $60,000.

Aside from serving as a fundraiser, O’Connor said the fest allows those who are not a part of St. Thomas to fellowship in a family atmosphere.

"It's a community wide event and we advertise it far and wide, in all the parishes around Bryan/College Station but also anywhere else we can you know,” O’Connor said. “People can come here have fun and come join us and come out to see what we have to offer here at St. Thomas Aquinas."

O'Connor said that is the purpose of the fest.

The funds raised through the event help St. Thomas Aquinas Church improvement upon and expand their outreach and offer more to the community it serves.