Greenback Memorial Baptist Church held its annual fall festival Saturday, complete with classic cars, vendors, food and a pet costume contest.
“We have a fall festival every year,” Colleen Moore, event director, said. “It’s our community outreach. We try to do everything for absolutely free, so everyone can come — other than vendors. They, of course, charge for their things, but that’s not the church. Everything for the church-wise is all free. It’s just our way of opening the doors for those families that maybe don’t get to participate in things that cost.”
Attendees made the rounds at the county fair-themed festival, with bounce houses, a pie-eating contest and carnival games. The cost-free aspect was an integral part of Saturday’s festival as worries about money can be a make-or-break factor in the Greenback community.
“My husband and I were young parents, and we had our kids at a very early age,” Moore said. “We weren’t always able to afford things. I have found that that’s the case for a lot of parents in Greenback, that there are those in need in the community that can’t afford things. We do this event to open our doors and love on the community for those who need help with something.”
Moore highlighted Greenback Memorial’s clothing ministry as another way the church connects with those in need.
“We have a clothing ministry,” she said. “If someone comes by and says, ‘Hey, I can’t afford to buy my kids’ clothes this year,’ or ‘My kids need shoes,’ we’re able to open that up to them and say, ‘Here. Take what you need.’”
Forty vendors set up shop on the church lawn to benefit the clothing ministry. Each vendor paid $20 for a spot, which will be directed toward a fund to buy a trailer for storing extra supplies.
“We’re actually raising money for our trailer,” Ann Lheureux, clothing ministry director, said. “That’s going to be used for the clothing ministry. When the youth go away for a week, they will be using the trailer as well. That’s what we’re raising money for, but it’s a blessing for me. I’ve held back tears today. These vendors, I look at it as a blessing. These vendors are coming out and helping a lot of people.”
The Rev. Lon Shockley, pastor, said the festival’s foundation is built on an attitude of giving.
“My big thing is anytime you can get together and have a free hot dog and cotton candy and an Icee, you’re looking at cool cars and you have crafters and hay rides,” Shockley said. “You know, my thing is, a lot of times, people can’t afford to do things. The church is, to me, supposed to give instead of take. We as a church always want to be a giving church instead of a taking church. We want to give to our community, and that’s what Christ did. Christ didn’t take from us, but he gave. We want to do the same thing.
“We want to just enjoy,” he added. “We want everybody to enjoy this day and not have to worry about if this costs something or if that costs something. They come and bring their family and enjoy the day.”