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Good Shepherd Festival Set For Labor Day

International food, beverages, games and children's rides can all be enjoyed during Good Shepherd Catholic Church's 32nd Annual International Festival on Labor Day, September 3, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Located at 8710 Mount Vernon Highway in Mount Vernon District, the event will feature live entertainment by the Mount Vernon Volksmusikanten and other groups. Although admission is free, tickets must be purchased for raffle items, activities, rides, plants and flowers, food and other items at some booths.

"The International festival is a celebration that our parishioners share with each other and the community in which we live, work and serve," said the Reverend Charles C. McCoart,Jr., pastor, Good Shepherd Catholic Church.

"It's an opportunity for everyone in our community to come together at the end of the summer to spend the day with each other. The festival is a 100 percent volunteer accomplishment and that's what makes it a success. In addition to the fun and fellowship, its a source of funding for charitable causes," he said.

STARTED BY THE Women's Council of Good Shepherd, the festival's mission is to raise funds for local organizations and people in need. "The festival continues to raise tens of thousands of dollars for local charities that help those in need," said John Michals, festival chairman.

"Last year, the event attracted thousands of people. Come join us for good food and family fun, and in the process, know you are helping others," Michals said.

Organizations which have benefitted in the past include, Good Shepherd Emergency Assistance, Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, United Community Ministries, Progreso Hispano, Inc., and Shepherd's Gate, among others. Good Shepherd Catholic Church serves more than 3,000 families and 11,000 parishioners in Northern Virginia and the surrounding areas.

One of the prime fund raisers at the festival each year is the "White Elephant" sale. Held in the hallway of the church early birds will be let in at 12:30 p.m. for a fee of $5. All others can enter from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. free. "The first half hour is like a private charity sale," said parishioner Kim Riley.

"Don't miss this chance to attend one of area's the largest yard sales. It is the only yard sale in Mount Vernon on Labor Day. There is something for everybody at this sale -- antiques, clothes, books, furniture, toys, gifts, jewelry, sporting goods, household

items, artwork, and much, much more," said parishioner Gale Curcio.

"In 2005 we were able to donate $11,000 to the victims of Hurricane Katrina from the proceeds of this sale," said Michals. In total the festival usually raises between $40,000 and $50,000 for local charities, according to Michals.

Ample parking is available at Mount Vernon High School, with shuttle service to and from the festival beginning at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m. Festival grounds are handicapped accessible and there will be a first aid tent on the premises.

For additional information call 703-780-4055 or visit

www.gs-cc.org.

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