By CASEY CROUCHER
The scent of barbecue wafting in the air, vintage cars lining city streets, and songs from the '60s and '70s could all be experienced during this weekend's annual St. Stanislaus festival.
"I live right next door and I come to this event every year," Richard Santiago said. "It's just a great festival to get some good food, hear some music, see some cars and get out and see people."
This year the festival featured a car show for the first time since its inception.
Jim Dybas, one of many event organizers, said the car show helped bring even more visitors.
"We're bringing in more people than parishioners," he said. "The new car show is really helping us attract more people this year; we've got a really good crowd tonight and it's great seeing everyone having a good time."
One car that seemed to attract a lot of attention was a 1927 Ford Model T "Rat Rod" made to look similar to the "Munster Koach" from the popular TV series The Munsters.
Owner Joe Riccardi from Caroga Lake even put rat figurines on the car to acknowledge its "Rat Rod" model which created attention from children and adults.
Riccardi said Saturday was the first time he'd been to the St. Stanislaus festival on Cornell Street and he really liked it.
"This is a great event with one heck of a turnout," he said. "It's really great because it's free for everyone, even those of us in the car show -- usually there's a fee to be in a show."
Saturday's event also featured a pig roast, a variety of games for children and adults, music from The Rogues and raffle tickets for roughly 30 cleverly designed gift baskets.
Event organizer Ed Walega said all the contributions raised during the event go toward the church. He said in previous years the festival raised $15,000, but thinks it will raise more this year.
"Because we had the car show and more people came tonight than expected I think we'll make more than what we typically do," Walega said. "We're starting to run out of food and it's only our first night. We'll have to send someone out to get more and that's a good sign."
Montgomery County Undersheriff Peter Vroman said he really enjoyed the atmosphere of the festival.
"It's just really fun seeing a neighborhood come together and put on an event like this," he said. "It's nice getting some good food and meeting new people."
Church volunteer Christina Swierzowski agreed.
"My favorite part of this festival is seeing people I've never seen before," she said. "In church we usually see the same people every week but this gives us a chance to meet new people."
Swierzowski was working in a game booth for children Saturday night.
The game involved a treasure chest full of gift cards and goodies for kids to choose from but it was locked and there was only one key to open it. Children had to choose the right key out of about 20 different keys to open the chest up and claim a prize.
Kenneth Carey and his sister Alexis Carey gave the game a try. Kenneth went first then Alexis tried her hand at the keys but both came back empty-handed.
When the siblings left the game booth, Kenneth said to his sister, "If I had chosen the right key I would have shared my prize with you."
"That's what this festival is all about," she said.