This is going to be a busy upcoming weekend for fun-seekers, as May 5, better known as ¡Cinco De Mayo!, falls on a Saturday. And since this holiday of ¡Cinco De Mayo! has somewhat transformed from its original celebration into something that's more often promoted as a "beer-guzzling holiday" by many for-profit establishments... where else can fun-seekers take their families and enjoy a pleasant weekend (minus the drunken revelers)?
I recommend coming to the beautiful suburbs of Burbank, and spending some quality time at Saint Finbar's Fiesta. The Annual Saint Finbar Fiesta is hosted by the Saint Finbar Catholic Community, which happens to be the church that I attend. I'm very active at St. Finbar, where I am a sound engineer for the music ministry, running the live sound mixing board for several of our talented choirs.
(And if you're new to the Los Angeles area and you're looking for a friendly, welcoming church, I would suggest coming to an 11 o'clock Sunday Mass here. You'll most likely feel at ease by our diverse, sociable community and inspired by the beauty of the most reverent music.)
I can recommend attending the Saint Finbar Fiesta because I have personally volunteered in one facet or another for the past 8 years, starting with creating 'souvenir photo strips' using digital cameras, akin to what you would get from a photo booth, but with ample interior space for large groups and higher-quality printed images. For instance, you can't have a dozen of your closest friends jump up high in the air inside a standard photo booth. (You can try it, but I'm sure at least one of your dozen friends will sustain some sort of head or neck injury.)
Alas, the "souvenir photo booth" exists no more, a casualty of the iPhone camera's ubiquity. (I'd say "cellphone" camera, but saying iPhone camera has more caché.)
The latest years at the Fiesta, I've been managing and running the overall sound for the weekend, which translates to "the public address system (P.A.)." That encompasses being a "DJ" (and organizing the DJ team) and playing upbeat music to set the festive mood heard throughout the event grounds.
Ideally, we're using classic and contemporary pop music to subliminally work guests into a money-spending frenzy... not really, but it's nice to think that playing music could do such!
Working the "P.A." also means working alongside the announcers who inform the Fiesta guests of all the happenings throughout the course of the weekend. From pointing out the variety of food, games and prizes, to alerting guests about the current cash prize drawings, which are done frequently throughout the day. There's one that's called a "50-50" drawing, where staffers will stroll through the grounds hourly to sell draw tickets, and the winner receives 50% of the cash collected from tickets sold. I've seen people win up to $300 from this, after spending just $1 for a ticket!
The announcers will also acknowledge the cash prize winners so the ticket holders can claim their winnings. (And so you can add them to your 'friends list.') Sometimes I get on the mic too, so if you come on out, you may get the rare chance to hear me rhapsodize precious words of wisdom... or more likely, to help direct you to where the portable restrooms are.
Saint Finbar hosts this annual Fiesta as a fundraiser which benefits our immediate Catholic community (the congregation) and also benefits Saint Finbar's surrounding community. Our church contributes greatly to the social needs of Burbank, by helping senior citizens with food and care services, and also helping the needy and the homeless through donations to local shelters and food banks.
This year, Saint Finbar's goal is to use some of the funds raised from this Fiesta event toward paying off some of the costs of financing the building of our new community center, which has already hosted a multitude of 'faith-building' and 'friendship-building' events.
The new community center is a great addition to our community, where teachers and students now can host stage productions and plays; and all the different St. Finbar ministries can use the facilities for large public gatherings and beneficial activities, like the recent "Health Fair," where medical professionals from our local hospital, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, along with other medical providers, offered free screenings and health exams.
Saint Finbar also has a thriving 'Early Fives' to 8th grade private school, which is accredited by the Western Catholic Education Association, and has been recognized for the several past years as one of "Burbank's Best Schools" by the Burbank Leader community newspaper, published by the Los Angeles Times. Check out the website for Saint Finbar School: www.saintfinbar.org
Because the Fiesta is held on the Saint Finbar School grounds, the faculty and staff at Saint Finbar School participate greatly in organizing the whole event, running many of the essential operations and coordinating most of the volunteers, who are recruited from the rosters of school students and their parents.
Michael Marasco, Saint Finbar School's Principal, remarked, "Although it's a lot of work, it's wonderful for community-building. It's an opportunity for others in the surrounding community to see us (the church community) and what Saint Finbar has to offer."
Marasco noted that the Fiesta is a friendly and open way to evangelize our Catholic Faith, and the Fiesta event has actually benefited the school in enrollments. "At least two two to three families will enroll at our school because of the Fiesta."
We also have some new events at our Fiesta. The generous Timmy Nolan's Tavern in Toluca Lake is sponsoring Saint Finbar's first ever "Casino Night." It's a little like going to Las Vegas, except without all that sinning. And it's just like those casino nights you've been to at other 'fun-for-adults' events, with a "$20 buy-in." And your winning accumulation of chips can "cash in" for nice prizes like trips, electronic items, and more! There will also be a bar serving alcoholic beverages at the casino night, so you already know it's not a "fuddy-duddy" event.
There's also a new activity for the kids: LASER TAG! It will be held inside our new community center, so it will be safe fun for the kids. I've never played Laser Tag, but I'm sure it takes loads of strategy and skill to dodge and deflect light beams like Anakin Skywalker does in those prequel Star Wars movies... or am I confusing the technology? I suppose it only stings just a little bit, when you get fried by a laser beam. (Band-Aids not required.)
Okay, now for the answer to that all-important question you've been seeking all this time here:
HOW CAN $5 Win $10,000?
Or really, HOW CAN $5 win >> ME << $10,000? (That's what you're thinking.)
That's Ten Thousand Big Ones... as in one dollar bills, although all one dollar bills are the same size.
Or that's One Hundred Benjamins.
That's the way cool people say 100 (quantity of) 'hundred dollar' bills.
Because Benjamin Franklin is on the hundred dollar bill. Cool, huh?
It's like when I say, "You ROCK!" And you're sitting in a rocking chair.
Yes. You ROCK!
Or that's Ten K...
but not K as in Kardashian, but K as in "a thousand dollars."
It's a slang term that I rarely use, unless I want to confuse people who like to run those "shortened marathon-like events."
You can win 10,000 smack-a-roos by purchasing a $5 "raffle" ticket at our Fiesta. (Again, smack-a-roos is a slang term for a "Washington", which is a $1 bill, because George Washington is on the $1 bill.
And that's usually the form of currency that resides in my Velcro® wallet. I usually have at least two "Washingtons" in my Velcro® wallet. Enough for a Starbuck's® Grande® Blonde® Coffee®. Unless you're talking about the coins.)
And YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE PRESENT TO WIN the 10,000 smack-a-roos.
You can be celebrating your belated ¡Cinco De Mayo! at 8 p.m. on Sunday night (that's ¡Seis De Mayo!, May 6, when the drawing is held) and if YOUR ticket with YOUR name on it is drawn as the winner, YOU WILL GET 10,000 Washingtons. (That's $10,000... before income tax reporting.)
You can also buy numerous $5 "opportunity drawing" (raffle) tickets, to statistically INCREASE your chance of WINNING. And there's no skill involved to win, except when you fill out your name LEGIBLY on the back of your ticket, to be included in the drawing.
There will also be many smaller cash value prizes, so if you don't win the Grand Prize of 10,000 Washingtons, there are other prizes where you can win a smaller number of Washingtons.
So Good Luck!
Maybe you'll share some of your good fortune when you win!
(I could suggest someone to share with... someone who needs more Washingtons in his Velcro® wallet.)
So here's a run-down of some of the FUN THINGS we're going to have this weekend at the Saint Finbar Fiesta:
CLASSIC carnival games without that "seedy carnival ambience." There's games of SKILL (The City of Burbank is actually very strict about carnival games; if they are deemed "too hard" to win a prize using skill, then it's ILLEGAL! Take that, carny scammers!) like the Ring Toss, Ping-Pong Ball Toss, that game where you knock over old-fashioned milk bottles, that game where you can win a LIVE gold fish or even a LIVE REPTILE (girls really love this game), etc. Prizes you can win are actually very nice stuffed animals, simple toys and the crowd favorite... SQUIRT GUNS! (Kids love the squirt guns.)
There's also going to be other activities for the kids, like a big "bouncer-type" area, and an inflatable "jousting" arena. No suits of armor required.
FIRST DATER'S TIP: if you're on a FIRST DATE (you both met on OKCupid), this Fiesta is the place to go! What better way to melt your new love's heart than to win her (or him) a stuffed animal to commemorate your first date? And it's not that hard, either. (Theoretically.) And don't fret... if you strike out at snagging a "stuffy," (I'm sure that's a slang term in Australia or New Zealand), there's always treating your date to some delicious FOOD! Or yourself, if you're just hungry.
The Saint Finbar Fiesta Food Booths will seriously TEMPT you (in a non-sinning way) with their beautiful sights and wafting scents of awesome yum-yum-yumminess! It's a real wonderland and a balanced variety of TASTY ethnic food and classic fairground-type fare.
There's your standard burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and fries; plus, there will be TRI-TIP steak sandwiches and other manly eats. There will be Mexican food like Carne Asada burritos and traditional tacos; Italian food like the kind they serve in Italian restaurants... and maybe even like the kind they serve in Italy. There will be Filipino food like BBQ Pork Sticks and BBQ Beef Sticks, Pancit (noodles, similar to chow mein), Vietnamese food like Pho (flavorful soup with beef and vegetables) and skewered BBQ Beef. Plus, there will be Pizza and HOMEBAKED goods!
There will also be food like Ice Cream, which I've heard is very popular in exotic places like Alaska; and even Sun Valley, CA., of all places.
For beverages, there's a new SMOOTHIE "BAR" (non-alcoholic, but it's a "bar"), and there's also a REAL BAR that serves BEER and MARGARITAS, so again, this is NOT a "fuddy-duddy" event!
Most food combos will be priced fairly in the $5-or-so range. What a deal! And what's a Fiesta without FUNNEL CAKES?
It wouldn't be a Fiesta if there wasn't not NO Funnel Cakes! (That's grammatically correct, by the way.) There IS, and you can get the FANCY kind of Funnel Cakes too, with strawberries and whipped cream on top!
So, please come on out this coming weekend,
Friday May 4th (5pm to 10pm),
Saturday May 5th (10am to 10pm)
Sunday May 6th (10am to 8pm),
and I know you'll find a nice, RELAXING and ENJOYABLE EVENT to take yourself, your friends, and especially your whole family!
The Saint Finbar Fiesta will be on the school grounds next door to the church, at 2010 W. Olive Avenue in Burbank. FREE Parking on the neighborhood streets nearby.
HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!