Erica Knippen gives her all in one of the festival's perennial favorites - the Kiddie Tractor Pull - held Saturday
Erica Knippen gives her all in one of the festival's perennial favorites - the Kiddie Tractor Pull - held Saturday. (DHI Media/Rebecca Violet)

OTTOVILLE — Ottoville parishioners of all ages braved the heat to enjoy a variety of activities at their annual Parish Festival this past weekend.

One particularly big event, the Big Ticket Drawing for $1,000, was won by Duane and Dorothy Oberg.

The Immaculate Conception Church Festival has a long history, according to Millie Ruen. Ruen is the leading historian and Museum Chairperson.

“It was going on strong in the 40s,” Ruen theorized when asked upon the festival’s beginning, “So 1930s, it probably started about then.”

In an era of throwaway culture and passing fads, it is admirable that the festival has continued throughout the decades. Despite its size, Ruen emphasized that community support is totally important when it comes to continuing the tradition in addition to coordination.

“Each part of the social has a leader,” she explained. “Somebody’s in charge of the museum, social, dining room, kitchen — each part of it has a different head, so that’s what keeps it going.”

Community support was also emphasized by another Ottoville parishioner, Don Schlagbaum. Schlagbaum usually assists with managing the food while his wife, Dee Dee Schlagbaum, assists with the cooking.

While the Parish Festival offers local vendors a chance to sell food and sweets, arguably what satisfies the most is the family style dinners sold within the Parish Center’s banquet hall. A lot goes into preparing these meals, as explained by Schlagbaum.

“We get about 650 pounds of meet and for groceries about a half a truckload,” Schlagbaum detailed. “It comes in about 4 a.m. in the morning to unload.”

The festival ends up serving around 1,600 meals as an estimate by Schlagbaum, who also stressed that the food used for the meals is always fresh.

“It’s all really good,” Schagbaum proclaimed, “Especially since my wife’s the cook.”

All fundraising during the festival goes towards everyday maintenance of the church.

“Those are just ongoing things that never stop,” Ruen added.

The Immaculate Conception Church will also sometimes do separate fundraising for large church projects.