The St. Andrew Catholic School Festival began Thursday and continues this weekend.
Featuring carnival rides and a midway, the annual event is one of the largest of its kind in Cape Coral with an estimated 20,000 people expected to attend.
Jack Martin, festival committee chairman, said the crowds were lighter on Thursday night. He speculated the reason could be that students had school on Friday, when in past years they had the day off.
"From what I saw last night, it seemed to be down a little bit," he said. "Tonight and tomorrow ought to be pretty busy."
Friday night was the Texas Hold 'Em tournament where players over the age of 18 could compete after paying an entry fee of $100 per person. First prize in the tournament was a big screen HDTV and second prize was a laptop computer.
Attendance is typically greater on the weekend as parents and students are off from work and school, said Martin. Carnival rides are on a ticket system and are designed for children over the age 2.
Many Cape Coral residents are turning out for the big raffle drawing on Sunday at 7 p.m. Raffle tickets are $2 each and one ticket holder is eligible to win $10,000.
The festival also has a silent auction featuring round-trip tickets to anywhere aboard Southwest Airlines, a registered Shih Tzu puppy, a two-night stay at Tween' Waters Inn on Sanibel Island, two tickets to Sea World and four tickets to the Kennedy Space Center.
Live performances by local dance academies and karate dojos will be showing all weekend, as well as St. Andrew Talent Show and Southwest Florida's Got Talent competition on Saturday night.
Parking is free and is located on church grounds as well as across the street in a vacant lot.