St. John the Evangelist Church's annual Mexican fiesta will be held Saturday evening.
It began 16 years ago as a way to raise funds for St. John the Evangelist Church when a new Catholic parish was formed in western Lawrence.
Since that time, the annual St. John's Fiesta Mexicana has grown into more than a fund-raising event -- it's an areawide Mexican-American festival, said Bert Bermudez, a member of the church's fiesta committee.
"We attract a lot of people from Topeka, Kansas City and Ottawa," Bermudez said earlier this week. "I've had people ask me when is the fiesta, so they could plan their vacation around it."
The fiesta, which features authentic Mexican food, music, dancing and games, will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday at the church, 1208 Ky.
The church usually nets $10,000 to $12,000 after expenses, she said.
"Hopefully every year we can make more," she said.
Bermudez said she and other members of the committee have been preparing and freezing authentic Mexican food since March. It will be cooked Saturday morning in the church's kitchen.
"We will make all of the food fresh," she said.
She said they have prepared 1,500 to 2,000 of each entree, which are tamales, enchiladas, tacos, tostadas and burritos. Spanish rice will also be served.
"We usually sell out of tamales and rice," she said. "We make a little more each year."
Bermudez said entertainment will be featured throughout the evening.
Donald Rutz, a disc jockey, will provide music from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Los Danzantes De St. John's, a dance group consisting of children from St. John and Corpus Christi Catholic parishes, will perform.
Manana Band will perform dance music from 8 p.m. to midnight.
There will also be games, including an air slide, miniature golf, "roller-bowler" and a cork gun shoot. Fiesta T-shirts will also be sold.
At least 5,000 people attended the event last year, she said.
If it rains, food will be sold on a carry-out basis from the church basement Saturday and after each Mass on Sunday, she said.
"We've only had that happen one time," she said.