Community spirit overflowed at Family Fun Day 2016

More than 150 came out for a day of fun, fellowship, and yes, food.

There were lots of smiles at Holy Cross’s Family Fun Day held Sunday, September 18 on the parish grounds and attended by more than 150 parishioners, from toddlers to seniors.

“The event was a complete success,” said Fr. Andy Santamauro, pastor. “Everyone had a great time, and I’m really pleased, happy and proud of the committee for the great job they did this year. And, the weather cooperated! It was a great day and we are doing this again next year,” he said. View photos from the event in the parish's online Photo Gallery

Holy Cross is well known for its great cooks, so it was just natural to start the day with a cook-off competition. That led to a good bit of friendly bragging and boasting, especially around the chili table, where nine entries were judged - and quickly consumed following the competition.

The parish previously held a chili cook-off in 2010, but expanded the competition this year to include mac ‘n cheese, pound cake, potato salad and brownies, giving more parishioners a chance to show off their specialties.

Two of the new categories put the parish’s great bakers in the spotlight: Yvonne Fisher received top honors for her pound cake entry and Chris Fisher received first in the brownies category. Special note about the top winners in the mac ‘n cheese competition: Jean Vance, the most senior cook in the parish, and April Henderson, the youngest to enter this category, received first and second place, respectively. And the potato salad entries were a much appreciated complement to the meat dishes on the buffet.

Frank Boone Jr. – winner of the chili competition – had a unique story to share along with his winning pot of chili, prepared with a recipe that he learned from Frank Wright, his father-in-law.

Frank Wright – who won first place in the 2010 chili cook-off – didn’t share his recipe outright. Instead, Frank Boone Jr. observed him prepare it time and again, trying to replicate it at home afterwards. Each time he had a chance to watch his father-in-law prepare the chili, he learned a little more about how to get the ingredients and structure just right. And, this year, it seems he did, as he won first place, showing the value of persistence and learning by observing your elders.

All entries were judged anonymously, to assure that decisions were based solely on the quality of the entries, providing a great opportunity for people to show their best and claim some bragging rights for the year.

The cook-off had a total of 30 entries; nine in the chili competition and five each in the remaining categories. Following are all the cook-off winners.

  • Chili: Frank Boone Jr., first place; Harriette Nichols, second; Janis Ernst, third
  • Mac ‘n Cheese: Jean Vance, first place; April Henderson, second; Kay Patterson, third
  • Pound Cake: Yvonne Fisher, first; Leonard Guine, second; Jeanette McLaughlin, third
  • Potato Salad: Mary Joyner, first; Dreda Guion, second; Elaine Miller, third
  • Brownies: Chris Fisher, first; Ava Thompson, second

After judging, the competing dishes were added to the buffet line that included grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, fried chicken, salads, home-made Filipino-style egg rolls and other savory dishes, plus hand-scooped ice cream and watermelon.

The Fun Day also included plenty of games and activities, from line dancing to volleyball to Bingo, plus face painting that attracted not only young children, teenagers and young adults, but mature adults as well.

“The parishioners of Holy Cross came together as a cohesive group to support the Family Fun Day event and helped to make it a success. This type of activity is another way to bond and to make Holy Cross an even stronger faith community, said Betty Blackmon, adding, “The best way to get people to come out is to make them part of whatever you’re doing.” That seemed to be a winning recipe for a successful Family Fun Day.

Individually, participants showed their parish pride by wearing Holy Cross t-shirts and posing for photos in Fun Day frames. Those images are being shared on the parish’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the parish’s online photo gallery.

Many parishioners also submitted comments about what drew them to Holy Cross, and what has kept them coming back. Watch for those on the parish’s social media accounts as well.

Scores of people helped to make the event a success, filling roles as judges, kitchen helpers and workers; games leaders, the communications team, ice-cream scoopers, pop-corn poppers, and the team that set up all the tables, chairs and the tent, and then took everything down later, cleaned up and put things away.

Following are the committee members that provided leadership for the event.



  • Betty Blackmon 
  • Nadine Goodwin-Blake
  • Yvonne Fisher 


  • Willie Alston
  • Frank Boone, Jr.
  • James Ellis
  • Christopher Fisher, Jr.
  • Harvey Gardiner
  • Warren "Chico" Harris
  • Daryl Hinton
  • Renee Nixon
  • Brandon Palmer
  • Jennifer Wright



  • Deirdre Guion
  • Toni Hall
  • Angelle Jenkins
  • Marian Johnson-Thompson
  • Davesene Lawson

Face Painting

  • Brandon Palmer
  • Rita Anagor


  • Renee Nixon
  • Jennifer Wright


  • Carol Nixon
  • Warren Harris
  • Michael Wilson (provided equipment and served as DJ)

The day's activities included an opportunity for parishioners to share reflections on their connection with Holy Cross parish. Following is a selection of those. Watch for more on the Holy Cross Facebook and Twitter accounts in the coming weeks. 

  • Matthew Anagor: ”This has been my church family since 1981. I feel at home and have had three children baptized here.”
  • Bobbiette Palmer: “I love the community; people make me feel like family.”
  • Aretta Roberts: “This is my home church (although I left for 50 years and am back now after retiring). I was in the first class of children from Holy Cross enrolled at Immaculata.”
  • Michael and Desiree Palmer: “Our extended family; weekly spiritual refreshment.”
  • Ogo Udemadu: “First church I attended in U.S.A in 1996. Got married here in 1986; my four lovely children are all baptized here.”
  • Gemma and Warren Harris: “The main reason why Warren and I come back to Holy Cross is because it is really the great source of our Christian belief. We look forward to hearing the Word as it is delivered on a weekly basis. The Word keeps us having a firm hold of our faith. HC is congenial, diverse and family oriented. During our years at HC, Warren has been part of the music ministry having sung in the choir for about 26 years. Gemma has been part of the lector ministry for the past 20 years. We both love to be part of these ministries. With the growing in the parish, Gemma has been the coordinator of the annual Caribbean liturgy for the past six years in which we share our Caribbean Catholic experience as well as our culinary experience. We just love being Catholics and because we have been part of the HC experience for the past 28 years, it's a win-win situation.”


Tags: Holy Cross Family Fun Day, Holy Cross Church Durham


There are no comments for this post.

Add a comment

Will not be shared.
Add Comment

Parish News Blog

Updates and details regarding Bulletin items and current news and events. View the parish e-newsletter for additional news and updates. Read More


COVID-19 Mobile Vaccination Clinic at Holy Cross

Thursday, July 22, 2021
           Holy Cross Catholic Church is hosting a mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic, in collaboration with UNC... Read More

Deacon's Corner | St. Mary Magdalene: July 22

Thursday, July 22, 2021
Mary Magdalene was one of the original Galilean disciples of Jesus and one of the many women who followed him in his itinerant ministry. Little can... Read More

Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!