How do you combine diversity, camaraderie, bargains, great food and charity into one event? If you have participated in Good Shepherd Catholic Church’s annual International Festival for the last 41 years, you know precisely how that works.
Begun in 1975 as a one-day Festival, it has expanded to three days of fun-filled activities over the entire Labor Day weekend.
Beginning on Saturday there is a 5K race and the largest, best-organized indoor yard sale in the area. Opening at 8:30 am, September 2, this air-conditioned venue has over 5,000 square feet of such treasures as small appliances – crockpots, coffee makers, waffle irons, blenders, etc.; bedroom ensembles – spreads, comforters, sheets, pillows, lamps and more; games and puzzles; sports equipment; jewelry; yard tools; beautiful Christmas decorations and collectors’ items galore. Those who make this an annual “must-do” know that the early birds pay a $10 entrance fee from 8:30 am until 9:30 am. After 9:30am, all shoppers enter for free.
On Sunday there is a multicultural Mass where participants are encouraged to dress in the native costume of their heritage. Monday is the pure fun day – games for the kids, bingo in the air-conditioned hall for the adults, a huge bake sale, music provided by various groups, and food booths of many nationalities. Of course, the raffle with its $10,000 prize is always a popular feature for the thousands of visitors and parishioners who participate in the festivities.
But, for the bargains and treasures you must come on Saturday! And you can shop knowing that all the net proceeds from the Yard Sale go to charity. The Yard Sale items are donated, sold at affordable prices, and arranged by volunteers who work seven days a week for five weeks to ensure its success. The best part is that every cent of the net proceeds from the three-day Festival is awarded in the form of grants to various charities.
Over the last decade, Good Shepherd Catholic Church has granted over $500,000, yes a half million dollars, in grants to worthy charities, such as Community Lodgings to provide educational supplies for learning centers for disadvantaged children; New Hope Housing for their work to assist homeless individuals secure stable employment; Mt. Vernon at Home to provide low-income residents a non-cost membership which allows seniors to age in place; and the Hogar Immigrant Services program to fund legal immigration workshops.
So, gather your friends, family, neighbors and come join the fun – Saturday, September 2 for the 5K and Yard Sale; Sunday, September 3 for the International Festival Mass, and Labor Day, September 4 for food, music and games. All are welcome! The address is 8710 Mt. Vernon Highway, Alexandria, Virginia 22309. Visit gs-cc.org/international-festival.html for details!