St. Joseph Catholic School's tradition continues to grow with this year's annual Oktoberfest, being called a huge success by the school's principal Debbie Timmermann. The school hosted the all-day festival Saturday at the Waxahachie Civic Center with about 500 attendants coming and going throughout the day.

“This year we are expecting to have more than a thousand come to the festival. This is a time for families to enjoy the day together and have a good time,” festival chairman Merissa Geary said.

The festival is the primary fundraiser for SJCS and help fund school tuition, upgrades to its education programs and facility improvements. “We hope to raise over $100,000 today,” Timmermann said, and the school was well on its

“This is a great place to do some early Christmas shopping,” Candi Barrett of Mansfield said.

Barrett and many other shoppers visited the more than 40 vendors that lined the entry hallway and the center’s ballroom.

While parents shopper, the festival included a room of carnival games just or the kids. Activities also included face painting, balloon artworks, kid’s karaoke and a washer tournament.

A special guest at SJCS's Oktoberfest drew the attention of children and adults alike. Jarvis the miniature pig was a favorite to all whole chanced a touch of his white coat, or had the opportunity to feed him a piece of apple. The children and adults that often crowed around Jarvis didn’t send him scurrying to his crate.

“In fact he really loves to be around people. He lives in our home and is a part of the family. Jarvis is also a trained and certified emotional support animal,” Griffith said.

A first-time festival balloon artist, Dana Elsom, plied her trade by handing out balloon creations and put smiles on the children's faces.

“I’ve been to many festivals around the county including the Bob Phillips Country festival, but this is one of the largest I’ve seen,” Elsom said.

By late morning, the food lines were set up and ready to feed the festival guests. The aromas of all the German and Southwest food favorites filled the hall. The Knights of Columbus men stayed up all Friday night smoking the sausage and briskets to be served all day Saturday.

Throughout the day, there were several entertainers performing for the audience. Students of the Lone Star Martial Arts school opened the festival’s stage entertainment. They were followed by local parish member, Justin Ballard, who sang many classic country and rock and roll favorites.

Guests also had the opportunity to take home an early Christmas present from either the silent or live auctions.

The live auction featured 35 items including autographed guitars, an Angel Fire getaway vacation and many artworks.

“We started as a small church gathering where we pitched a couple of tents. We are so excited that we have evolved Oktoberfest into what it is today, and I feel it will continue to grow,” Timmermann said.

The daylong festival concluded with music and dancing by provided a deejay.

This is the third year for the festival to be held at the Waxahachie Civic Center, and prior to the civic center the event was held at the county's expo center.