The FEST, which is celebrating its 20th year on Aug. 9, will have all the same features as in past years, but there will be a new presentation. In fact, FEST organizers say it will be a “Glorious” event, referring to this year’s theme.
“It’s like a cross between the Jerry Lewis Telethon (a long-running, start-studded television benefit for muscular dystrophy) and the Academy Awards,” said Father Bob Stec, pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Brunswick and founder of the event. “It will be a glorious, faith-filled day and all the FEST features will be back,” he promised.
But there will be a new twist: The FEST will be available for everyone to watch in the comfort of their own homes. Organizers are calling it TheFEST@home. The change was necessary due to safety concerns resulting from the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. Previously, as many as 40,000 people flocked to the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe for the daylong celebration of faith and family.
“People can go online and follow along with all the FEST features,” Father Stec said. The new website will offer attendees the opportunity to watch special, unique FEST performances by a number of top national Christian musicians, hear testimonials, watch special tutorials on a variety of topics, view the livestreamed FEST Mass and the traditional closing fireworks show.
Younger FEST attendees also can complete Gospel-based FEST crafts at home. Free FEST kids’ craft kits, sponsored by Motts, Welch’s and Tropicana, will be available for pickup in late July or they can be mailed directly to your home. Father Stec said about 400 children are signed up so far for the free craft kits that include everything needed to complete the crafts. The take-home kits also include a custom coloring book, sunflower seeds to plant, a Glorious visor, a happy shaker, Christmas cards that can be sent to the military and learn to recycle an old FEST T-shirt into a reusable bag,
This year’s crafts include making a rosary, prayer pinwheels, sidewalk chalk for creations to share and more. Children can visit the crafts site at thefest.us/kids-crafts/ for instructions on completing their projects or to sign up for a craft kit.
Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, Father Stec said TheFEST@home will have dozens of sites visitors can go to in order to follow all the traditional FEST activities, including praying the rosary, Adoration, prayer intentions and more.
“Nowhere else is this being done except in our diocese,” he said. “We can see the hand of God in all of this.”