By Jon Bishop

AYER — St. Mary’s Parish, at 31 Shirley St., has decided to shake things up.

The lawn party they had for 43 years is no more. Now it’s going to be the Block Party at St. Mary’s, and it promises fun until sundown.

“The times have changed,” said the Rev. Edmond Derosier.

Sister Joan Guertin said in the past, they had always competed with school events like football games.

So that’s why they wanted to do something different.

Some of the new: an all-day basket raffle, a casino tent, a dunk tank, and a Slip ‘N Slide. And the revamped: midway games, kiddie games, a giant raffle.

They’re also going to have a food court this year, Father Derosier said, and it will include chicken wings, fried dough, sausages, onion rings, popcorn and cotton candy.

Since the event will last from 11 a.m. to sundown, Sister Guertin said that people will have the opportunity to come in for lunch or for dinner.

“People can come in and out,” she said.

In the evening, they will have lobsters and clams, Father Derosier said. And they are also hoping to have entertainment.

All of it will take place throughout the St. Mary’s grounds.

“So it’s the whole property,” said Sister Guertin.

Both of them would like this event to be the beginning of summer in Ayer. That’s why they’d like to bring in the town– and surrounding towns — and not just parishioners, Sister Guertin said.

“It looks like fun,” said Father Derosier.

Cynthia Trainque, a member of the planning committee, said that parishioners are very excited.

“At our planning meetings, we average close to 20 people,” which is a good number, she said.

The Block Party will be on Saturday, June 27, beginning at 11 a.m.