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Bluegrass fans show up in large numbers, boost fundraiser at St. Benedict/St. Elizabeth event in Ridgely, Md. — Photo gallery

Clint and Megan Bell, along with their daughter Sylphrena enjoy the music of Flatland Drive. They are members of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Milford, Delaware. Photo Connie Connolly.

RIDGELY – Bluegrass fans enjoyed good food, perfect weather and great bluegrass music at St. Benedict/St. Elizabeth Catholic Parish’s spring festival Saturday, June 4.

Organizers said they were pleased with the results of the fundraiser. Parish pastor the Rev. Christopher Coffiey shared the “fabulous achievement” with parishioners the following Sunday.

“I am thrilled to report that our (first) Bluegrass Festival was a tremendous success,” Coffiey wrote in the church bulletin. “We netted a total of over $13,500 in profit!”

The parish plans to host the event each year.

Three bluegrass bands entertained the crowd who filled the parish’s Family Life Center on 4th Street. Bluetrain Bluegrass Band from northern Baltimore County, Sweet Sunny South String Band from Denton and Flatland Drive with members from the Mid-Shore area, entertained parishioners and visitors from 2-7 p.m.

About 40 volunteers prepared an all-you-can-eat buffet; manned a bake sale, silent auction and cash bar; supervised a kids’ activity area outdoors; and sold tickets for games of chance.

Outside, several café tables with umbrellas allowed diners to enjoy the fair weather. Inside, another dining area accommodated about 50 people.

Co-chair Tom Lough is also Grand Knight of the parish’s St. Joan of Arc Council of the Knights of Columbus, a group of Catholic men devoted to acts of charity. He said he was impressed by the number of people who volunteered and the volume of donations.

Seeing people at church he’d never seen before, as well, was “wonderful,” Lough said. “Even if they’re not Catholic, they see us, and that’s a good thing.”

New member Julia Neph recently moved to Greensboro from Severna Park. She decided to serve her new parish as co-chair of the fundraiser.

“I had more help than I could have asked for and tons of volunteers, so it’s been great,” Neph said. “We got over 100 donations for auction items. We have a room full of desserts. We could not have imagined so many donations. The parish is extremely generous as a whole.”

As bluegrass music filled the gathering room and wafted into the adjacent overflow seating and classrooms, Father Coffiey looked out over the crowd. “I’m very pleased with everything,” he said. “It’s wonderful because people are looking for these types of things. They want to get out and about and also have a sense of community and fun.”