More than 400 people showed up to Morse Park North Saturday afternoon, as Rocketdyne Road Church of Christ hosted their fifth annual God’s Country Fair.
The event, offered to the public completely free of charge, included several children’s activities, including balloon animals, games, prizes, face-painting, crafts, bounce houses and a petting zoo, among other attractions, as well as a free lunch and free clothes and school supplies.
Last year’s fair drew a crowd of at least 300, and Wade Williams, one of the event’s co-organizers, said they prepared for about 100 more this year; however, by 1:30 p.m. they were having to restock supplies as the turnout continued to grow.
“This is my third year and it’s just bigger and bigger every year,” Williams said. “Every year there’s more and more people.”
Tonna Powers is the main organizer of the annual event, and was the church member who started the fair five years ago.
“God gave me a vision and after that it took input of several people to build this,” Powers said.
She said the fair has at least tripled since its first year, when the event included small pop-up tents, and some clothes, food and games.
“Oh, it’s multiplied,” Powers said. “It’s a wonderful thing.”
Powers said church members and community organizations, such as the Neosho High School’s FFA Petting Zoo, have joined in to offer activities at the fair.
The day also included four musical acts, one more than last year, Powers said, with Blackberry Winter, Saran Powviriya, Rick Wolfe and the Porters performing.
Both Williams and Powers said the overall purpose of God’s Country Fair is to share a message of love with the community.
“It’s just to reach out to our community to show our appreciation and show God’s love,” Powers said. “A lot of people are just surprised at the word free, that it’s all free, we don’t expect anything back, it’s just our opportunity to love them.”
The church members working at Saturday’s fair were all decked in blue t-shirts, which Williams pointed to when asked the purpose of the free event.
“Our shirts kind of say why – to love God, love others and to serve the world,” Williams said. “It’s just our way of being able to do that.”
New additions to this year’s fair included a horse corral, provided by one of the church’s members, and a couple new games.
Powers said organizers also used social media to get the word out and drive up attendance at the fair.
The event included giveaways from Subway, Sonic, Walmart, the Freeman Southwest Family YMCA, and Good Looks Hair Salon, while the Revolving Closet also donated clothes for the fair.
Williams said organizers start planning about a year in advance for the next year’s event, and will soon be looking to their sixth annual God’s Country Fair.
“We’ll start planning next year’s probably tomorrow,” Williams said. “There’s just a lot of people that volunteer their gifts that God’s given them.”