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Thousands attend weekend-long church fundrasier

Posted: September 22, 2013 9:04 p.m.
Updated: September 22, 2013 9:04 p.m.

Thousands of people flocked to the 69th Annual Barbecue at Our Lady of Perpetual Help this past weekend sampling tasty food, colorful dance and fast rides.

Few local annual events can point to a legacy reaching back more than half a century, but the church on Lyons Avenue at Wayman Street continues to celebrate its religion, its place in the community and its parishioners.
“The turnout has been really great this weekend,” said OLPH Associate Pastor Father Raymond Marquez. “The weather has actually been helping us out.”

Under blue skies and a cool moderate breeze Sunday, amid the food tents, game kiosks, a merry-go-round and stage, a small chapel bell was set up with a rope inviting anyone to pull it and draw people over to church’s tent.
Many barbecue attendees — attracted by the bell being rung, for the most part, by children — stopped by the church tent for a reminder that the barbecue was set up to raise money to build a new church.

“This bell has been calling people over,” Marquez said.

The three-day fundraiser, complete with dizzying rides and a Ferris wheel, got underway Friday and wrapped up Sunday night.

Two of the more than 7,000 parishioners who turned out Sunday were Gloria Mercado-Fortine, a member of the William S. Hart Union High School District, and her husband Bruce, College of the Canyons Trustee.

“It used to be really small and ranchers actually did the deep pit barbecue back then,” Fortine said, noting she’s been coming to the barbecue since she was born.

“Everybody pitched in. It was great,” she said. “There’s a lot of history here.”

Scores of attendees gathered under a big tent to eat the food offered by more than dozen vendors, entertained by dancers, singers, a magician and a mariachi band.
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