Seafood festival continues despite weather threat

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Several events across the coast were canceled Friday, because of the threat of tropical storm Karen, but at least one popular festival will carry on.

Holy Family Catholic Church in Pass Christian still held their 37th Annual Seafood Festival despite weather threats. The sunshine and cool breeze encouraged festival organizers to go forward. Jimmy Benigno is one of those organizers.

"We just had to make a decision and at 6:30 this morning we decided to make that decision and so far it seems like it's the right one," said Benigno.

The church's pastor said he has a good feeling the wind and rain will hold off long enough for them to make it through the two day event and Pass Christian's Mayor Chipper Mcdermott is also hoping for the best.

"It's a miracle just what they have right now so hopefully they have one more day left. And hopefully no one gets anything because with Cruisin' The Coast coming up, everybody's trying to put their best foot forward," said Mcdermott.

The festival is known for its food. With a melting pot of church members, the food ranged from Asian to Latin American, but the entrée of choice was from South Mississippi's own.

Bill Vrazel who used to own Vrazel's restaurant in Gulfport brought his most popular dish, Eggplant LaRosa, and festival goers couldn't get enough.

All of the proceeds from this year's festival are going toward rebuilding the church's cemetery that was destroyed during Katrina.

"I have family that was buried in there. It's an old cemetery in dire need of getting some work done on it. They're going to put a fence up and that's going to be really nice. I think that is good," said Mayor Mcdermott.

According to Father Austin, the festival usually raises nearly $150,000 for the church. Austin said if tropical storm Karen forces them to close up shop early it could mean a huge loss for their biggest annual fundraiser.

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