St. Helen Fiesta mix of faith, fun and food

Helena Rodriguez

People can get well fed — spiritually and physically — at St. Helen Catholic Church’s annual Fiesta and Car Show which begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday and continues with daily activities through Sunday.
The four-day fiesta of faith will feature “good food, praise and preaching,” according to Father Tobin Hitt, pastor of St. Helen’s.
It will be an event that will provide family fun in a Christian atmosphere, with an assortment of children’s games and an exhibit of some of Portales’ sharpest wheels in the car show.
Under the theme, “The Rocks Will Cry Out” centering around a need to praise the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the event will include dramatic faith skits, Christian musical entertainment, games for children, a car parade and show, an auction and a talent show. All events, with the exception of the car parade, will be held on the church grounds at 1600 S. Ave. O. The car parade on Saturday morning will begin at City Park and end at the church.
Highlights will include a queen and princess contest, in which the winner of the queen contest will win a donated 1995 Mitsubishi, and the Father’s Choice Award in the car show.
“Fiesta time at St. Helen’s is a time to get together to celebrate a common faith with people from the community,” Hitt said. “I like to consider our church as having an open-door policy.”
Hitt added: “The fiesta has become more of a faith-centered event, with more focus on God, but we like to have a good time too and want people to realize it can be fun and faithful at the same time.”
Food will definitely be another draw at the fiesta. Delicacies will include menudo, carne asado, gorditas and more.
Hitt does not known how long the annual fiesta has been held, but church secretary, Elvia Garcia, estimates it is more than 20 years old.
Hitt expects about 2,500 people to attend the festivities over the four days, many of whom are not members of the church. He’s particularly excited about a first-year event, dramatic faith presentations by the Otis Davis family. The Davis’s will perform on Thursday evening as well as during all of the daily masses, including the Spanish mass on Saturday evening.
Car show organizer, Henry Salas said registration for the car show is $20 an entry, which will be taken at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Vehicles can include cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles.
“We expect all kinds of cars to enter, oldies, trucks, low riders and hot rods,” Salas said.
A total of four girls are running for fiesta queen and there are two princess candidates. The candidates will participate in a talent show for contestants. Voting for candidates will be held during the weekend masses and the chosen queen and princess will be crowned during a ceremony at noon on Sunday.
Queen contestants are Amanda Peña, Rebecca Garcia, Mary Ann Sullivan and Stevanna Villanueva. Princess candidates are Adriana Abarca and Krista Montoya.