For the first time in 16 years, an annual festival held at Fenwick High School will move back closer to central Middletown at the school’s old campus.
The fundraising festival that once benefited Fenwick will now raise money for the St. John XXIII Catholic School at its 3806 Manchester Road campus, which used to be the home of the Fenwick school.
St. John officials said they were eager to take the festival and were attracted by the idea of bringing it back closer to the heart of the Middletown community in Butler County.
The new “The Festival at St. John XXIII” will be held in June, said school officials, and will raise money exclusively for the school.
“As Fenwick decided to move in a different direction with their fundraising and will no longer play any role in the festival, all proceeds will benefit St. John XXIII Catholic School,” said Principal Dawn Pickerill.
“That being said, other than a slight change in the name and the change back to the old location, it will be the same festival. The festival layout will be similar to what it was prior to 2003 when it moved to the new (Fenwick campus) location.
“We are hopeful that once again being located in the heart of the city, that it will return to being a festival that is easy for the people of Middletown to access.”
Fenwick Principal Blane Collison announced the change for the 66-year-old festival in a letter to school parents saying “a transition back to the Manchester campus will provide an opportunity for the Middletown community to continue their support of Catholic education.”
“For Fenwick, this adjustment will allow for energy to be focused on new, exciting and strategically planned opportunities to meet our budgetary needs.”
Pickerill said, “I feel strongly that the festival is far more than a school fundraiser; in fact, fundraising is the secondary motive for taking this venture on. It is a staple of the Middletown community and it is a community event that the people of Middletown look forward to. I feel we owe it to the people of Middletown to keep the tradition going.
“Finally I would not have agreed to take this on without the support of many, many people who know the festival and were involved with it during the years that it occurred at our campus. The excitement of these veterans is contagious, and I cannot wait to see what happens when we bring the festival home.”