By ANNE C. HEYMEN
It’s the place where neighbors meet neighbors, relatives can reunite after years of separation and everyone relaxes under the spreading oak trees for an afternoon of special fellowship, good food and great entertainment.
It’s the St. Ambrose Church Spring Fair, and this year’s celebration continues from noon to 4 p.m. April 7 at the Elkton location, just a short drive west from St. Augustine. The church is located at 6070 Church Road in Elkton, accessible off State Road 207 with directional signs pointing the way to the location.
As usual Mary Ellen Masters’ mouth-watering Minorcan clam chowder will be available, along with chicken pilau and ham dinners. Those who prefer traditional fair food can bite down on hot dogs and hamburgers; and there will be homemade desserts, ice cream and other sweet treats.
The Red River Band will provide entertainment throughout the afternoon, and kids will enjoy games especially planned for them. There will also be a garage sale, hay rides, a bake sale, silent auction and country store.
There is no admission to the fund-raising event. A particular highlight of the afternoon is an opportunity to tour the historic church, built in 1907, and enjoy, as well, the Garden of the Cross.
Don’t forget to bring folding chairs to set up under the spreading oaks and enjoy the cool afternoon breezes.
According to history of the church, “the Catholic community that grew around St. Ambrose Parish beginning in the early 1800s was bound by more than a common faith. Many of the members of the parish were also kinfolk.
“Priests from St. Augustine served the parish until 1860 when Father Henry Peter Clavreul arrived from France to minister to the settlement.”
In preparation for each year’s fair, ladies of the church gather in the parish hall’s large kitchen to cook the chicken, prepare the ham and perform other culinary duties, making that day, also, one of good food and fellowship.
In years past, many families have reunited after long separations. One particular family lost touch when the children were moved away after the death of one of the parents. Years later they were able to reunite, agreeing to meet on the steps of the historic church during the fair.
Today, they remain in contact.
So pack up the family and head out to Elkton for a day of fun and one which supports a church with a long and fascinating history.