Members of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Ore., created a warm, safe, and lively environment for neighbors Oct. 29.
They transformed the church’s fellowship hall into the annual Fall Harvest Carnival, complete with games, a cake walk, a hot dog stand, and photo booth. An estimated 150 children in costume attended the event, three-quarters of whom do not attend the church.
In a Bible-story booth called “God’s Future,” member Sue Stalnaker shared the gospel message with 60 children and parents.
Grace Faber and Annabelle Mathias enjoy the carnival games.
Chris Stalnaker, a professional photographer, shot family portraits and provided photos free of charge.
Volunteers from pre-teen to retirement age ran the carnival games. “We had no trouble getting volunteers,” said Hilda Ramak, who helped with the event. “They go out of their way to talk to people they don’t know.”
Children may play an unlimited number of carnival games at no cost. Sophia Pena, 6, enjoyed the “Doughnut Delight” game. She had to eat, without using her hands, a powdered-sugar doughnut as it dangled from a string. “I got doughnut all over my face,” she laughed.
Ann Vander Stoel, event coordinator, said, “The primary reason we do this is as an outreach to the community, so that we can share the love of God.”
This is the eighth year the church has hosted a Fall Harvest Carnival. The event was started in 2004 by Vander Stoel’s daughter, Elli Kroes.