Last weekend marked the 27th annual Czechfest at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.

"I always heard the festival was great for kids so I decided to bring my boys," said Meredith Watts.

The festival contained several fun events for ages 5 to 95, including traditional Czech meals and dances.

The chicken barbecue and the Czech dance with J. R. Castillo took Saturday, with the beef barbecue, silent auction and live auction Sunday.

Children had so much fun that they wouldn't even stop playing, even after they were red in the face from too much sun.

Children's games such as the rock climb, bounce about, and zero gravity spin took place all weekend long as did the crafting booths, bingo and the Country Store.

The Country Store served homemade jams and jellies and St. Thomas' famous kolaches.

Children crowded into the game areas while the parents danced or bid for the auctions. Bingo was popular as games averaged $20 a pot.

Even a bilingual Mass in Czech and English with Czech music was held Sunday by Bishop Patrick Zurek, auxiliary bishop of Archdiocese of San Antonio.

The parish volunteers prepared for the festival all year long, even making their own sauerkraut from the cabbage they harvested the spring before.

On the last week of August, volunteers including Pat Landreth, Betty Konarik, Geneva Linter, Leonard Logue, Stanley Konarik, Joan Benys, David Tajchman and Father Michael Howell began preparing kolaches in the early morning, four weeks before October.

More than 450 dozen kolaches with nine different fillings were made for this year's Czechfest.

"This is always a fun event for our church," said Howell, pastor at St. Thomas. "It's not only a fund-raiser, but an attempt to build on the church community."

The festival was started in 1980 to raise funds for the church. Now with the new church being built at a cost of $1.5 million, St. Thomas is still in need of funds to help finish the project. Church officials said the new church is almost completely paid for, however, with construction scheduled for completion in November.

St. Thomas expects to raise more than $60,000 for the new church this year. St. Thomas will continue to host Czechfest every October.