The congregation makes donations and seeks outside donors for the festival.
AUSTINTOWN— A brightly colored bounce house and an inflatable slide swayed and rocked as kids jumped, bounced and slid.
Other children — and adults — munched hot dogs, sausage, pie and more.
And it was all free.
The event Saturday was Idaho Road Alliance Church’s second annual fall festival for the community.
“We’re living in times that there’s a lot of fear,” said Senior Pastor Mike Erdel. “And because of the different things that are happening in our government and our culture, we wanted to give folks an opportunity to kind of get away for a little bit.”
Games, such as water-bottle bowling and bean-bag toss, were provided for kids. Firefighters made an appearance with a firetruck. Parents chatted with friends while watching kids run from activity to activity.
“We really enjoy the opportunity to share with folks and to give them some time away where they don’t have to pay for anything,” Pastor Erdel said. “It’s just a free thing where you can come and enjoy some company.”
When her neighbor, a member of the church, told her about the event, Jennifer Jackson of Youngstown thought it sounded like a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Her three children – Aaron, 13, Alexis, 8 and Olivia, 5 – enjoyed the games, the bounce house and the inflatable slide, as well as the food.
“My son has probably eaten most of the food,” Jackson said.
The food was awesome, Aaron explained. He had cider and a hot dog.
Alexis said her favorite parts were the bounce house and the games.
“It’s nice, especially in times when people don’t have jobs or are struggling financially, it’s nice that a church would do that and just feed people and not charge. That’s great,” Jackson said.
Local businesses help with the event by donating food, tents and the inflatables, said John Rossetti, coordinator. Church members also donate cider, water, pop and chips, as well as their time, to make the day a success.
The business involvement is important, Rossetti said.
“As a church, it’s great for us to be able to do this, but the community needs to see the churches and the business community, the schools and everything, work together as one,” he said. “We’re one community.”
Last year’s event drew 250 to 300 people.