By CLINT FOSTER
Ever wanted to experience the best of Mexican culture and food without crossing the border? Well, now is your chance.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Mineral Wells will hold its 25th Annual Jamaica Festival fundraiser on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. outside of the church at 108 NW 4th Ave. Patrons can expect an event filled with plenty of fun, food and genuine Hispanic culture.
Hispanic people often celebrate the Jamaica – pronounced "hamaica" – Festival in association with Grito de Dolores (or Mexican Independence Day) on Sept. 16. In the case of this church fundraiser, its just a great excuse to enjoy homemade food and fellowship.
Dora Calderon leads the church's Hispanic women's group called the "Gaudalupanas" who are in charge of celebrations such as the Jamaica and Cinco de Mayo. She said the Jamaica Festival, which began with just a few homemade Mexican food items for sale, has now grown tremendously.
In addition to all of the Mexican food staples available, including enchiladas, tamales and paletas (Mexican popsicles), Calderon said this year's fair will include many attractions. The Knights of Columbus will sell funnel cakes and curly fries, the Catholic Daughters will participate in a cookie bake-off and the church youth group will do face painting and a silent auction. Patrons also won't want to miss the spinning wheel, mechanical bull or music and dancing.
"It's a taste of everything culturally and it's all family oriented," Calderon said. "It's for the community."
Tickets will cost only $1 to enter the festival and then once inside, prices vary. For example, a genuine, homemade enchilada plate runs only about $3. Furthermore, all of the money raised goes toward a good cause.
"We're trying to build a parish hall at the church, so most of the money will go toward the building fund," Calderon said. "It's just a really nice fundraiser for our church."