St. Helen Fiesta shows cars, food

By Helena Rodriguez

PORTALES — The region can be well fed — spiritually and physically — at St. Helen Catholic Church’s annual Fiesta and Car Show which began Thursday and continues with daily activities through Sunday.
Portales’ four-day fiesta of faith will feature “good food, praise and preaching,” said Father Tobin Hitt, pastor of St. Helen’s.
Under the theme, “The Rocks Will Cry Out” centering around praise, the event will include dramatic faith skits, Christian musical entertainment, games for children, a car parade and show, an auction and a talent show. All events, with the exception of the car parade, will be held on the church grounds at 1600 S. Ave. O. The car parade on Saturday morning will begin at City Park and end at the church.
Highlights will include a queen and princess contest, in which the winner of the queen contest will win a donated 1995 Mitsubishi, and the Father’s Choice Award in the car show.
“Fiesta time at St. Helen’s is a time to get together to celebrate a common faith with people from the community,” Hitt said. “I like to consider our church as having an open-door policy.”
“The fiesta has become more of a faith-centered event, with more focus on God, but we like to have a good time too and want people to realize it can be fun and faithful at the same time.”
Food will be among the draws at the fiesta. Delicacies will include menudo, carne asado, gorditas and more.
Hitt does not know how long the annual fiesta has been held, but church secretary Elvia Garcia estimated it is more than 20 years old.
Hitt expects about 2,500 people to attend festivities.
Car show organizer Henry Salas said registration for the car show is $20 an entry, which will be taken at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Vehicles can include cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles.
“We expect all kinds of cars to enter — oldies, trucks, low riders and hot rods,” Salas said.
Four girls are running for fiesta queen and there are two princess candidates. The candidates will participate in a talent show. Voting for candidates will be held during the weekend masses and the chosen queen and princess will be crowned during a ceremony at noon on Sunday.
Queen contestants are Amanda Peña, Rebecca Garcia, Mary Ann Sullivan and Stevanna Villanueva. Princess candidates are Adriana Abarca and Krista Montoya.