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Edward Bredehoft of St. John Neumann Parish in Farragut, captures a moment with his children, Autumn and Eddie, during Irish Fest on the Hill Aug. 8 at Immaculate Conception Parish in Knoxville. Photo by Bill Brewer

Edward Bredehoft of St. John Neumann Parish in Farragut, captures a moment with his children, Autumn and Eddie, during Irish Fest on the Hill Aug. 8 at Immaculate Conception Parish in Knoxville.
Photo by Bill Brewer

If the weather, crowd size, and smiles are a barometer, then the 2015 edition of Irish Fest on the Hill at Immaculate Conception Church in Knoxville was a rousing success.

More than a thousand people gathered in the 400 block of West Vine Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 8, for fellowship, food, live music, and fun. Sunny skies and warm temperatures were the order for the day.

The block of Vine Avenue where the church is located was cordoned off for the festival and tents and vendors surrounded the church, offering Irish music and traditional dancing and food, such as corned beef and cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, Reuben sandwiches, lamb stew with soda bread, bangers and mash, beverages and desserts.

Among the performers entertaining on two different stages were Nancy Brennan Strange and the Tom Billies, Morgan Birdwell, bagpiper Tracy Wilson, Irish Dancers of Tennessee, Four Leaf Peat, Good Thymes Ceilidh Band, Red Haired Mary, Jeff Nelson, Julianne White and the Gypsy Rovers, Shamrock Road, the Knoxville area Dulcimer Club, and Amanda Peavyhouse & Karl Jacob. Church tours were given by Carole Wunderlich and a silent auction was held in the church basement.

Some 1,300 people attended the eighth annual Irish Fest on the Hill Aug. 8 at Immaculate Conception Parish, where they were welcomed with fellowship, food, entertainment and fun. Photo by Bill Brewer

Some 1,300 people attended the eighth annual Irish Fest on the Hill Aug. 8 at Immaculate Conception Parish, where they were welcomed with fellowship, food, entertainment and fun.
Photo by Bill Brewer

Father Ron Franco, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, was hopeful that attendance at the eighth annual Irish Fest would surpass last year – and it did. Some 1,300 people enjoyed the IC fundraiser, up from 1,100 at the seventh annual Irish Fest on the Hill.

“It’s wonderful. We’re very pleased,” Father Franco said of the event, noting that many hours of preparation by volunteers went into putting on Irish Fest. In addition to serving as Irish Fest host, Father Franco also celebrated the 6 p.m. Mass Saturday at the church.

The Bredehofts of St. John Neumann Parish in Farragut made the event a family affair.

They worked to keep up as their children, Autumn and Eddie, raced from tent to tent, taking time out for face-painting, refreshements, and making balloon animals.
When asked how they liked Irish Fest, Edward Bredehoft replied, “It’s great; it’s really great.”

Sponsors of the event included radio station B97.5, Regal Entertainment, Clancy’s Tavern, PetSafe, Jupiter Entertainment, Todd Birdwell, Brooke MacDonald Custom Construction, Nassios & McLaughlin, Fastenal, Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace, River Dog Bakery, the Foundry, Knights of Columbus, and the Immaculate Conception Women’s Group.

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Parishioners from across the Diocese of Knoxville gather together July 25 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church to fill food bags that will go to feed people in the African country Burkina Faso. The mission program was led by Catholic Relief Services and Helping Hands. Photo by Bill Brewer

Parishioners from across the Diocese of Knoxville gather together July 25 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church to fill food bags that will go to feed people in the African country Burkina Faso. The mission program was led by Catholic Relief Services and Helping Hands.
Photo by Bill Brewer

A highly organized assembly line of parishioners from across the Diocese of Knoxville gathered at St. Thomas the Apostle in Lenoir City on July 25 in an effort to help end hunger in Africa.

Those who took part in the Helping Hands project, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, helped churn out 10,000 meal packages which will be shipped to people in Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation once known as Upper Volta, located in West Africa.

An estimated 50 volunteers, including members of the Knoxville Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the St. Thomas Youth Group, wore hair nets and plastic gloves, and used plastic spoons, cups, and funnels to pour fortified rice and soy in to small plastic pouches.

The pouches were sealed and then placed in cardboard boxes for shipment.

Sally Jackson, a KDCCW coordinator, said it’s believed this was the first Helping Hands event held in the Diocese of Knoxville. It was also the last service project for the KDCCW 2015 Convention, which started in April.

Helping Hands, a program developed by Catholic Relief Services and Stop Hunger Now, is a high-energy, hands-on way for Catholics in the U.S to tackle hunger around the world. Michael Trujillo, a relationship manager for CRS said the organization educates volunteers about the people and country they are helping, ships the meals and provides skills training and other long-term programs that help break the cycle of hunger.

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