Children with painted faces, hot dogs in hand, and balloon animals wrapped around themselves ran through Morse Park North on Saturday, as an army of blue shirt wearing church members worked to provide a free day of fun to the Neosho community.

Children with painted faces, hot dogs in hand, and balloon animals wrapped around themselves ran through Morse Park North on Saturday, as an army of blue shirt wearing church members worked to provide a free day of fun to the Neosho community.

Hundreds of Neosho area residents turned out to the park on Saturday for the fourth annual God’s Country Fair, sponsored by Rocketdyne Road Church of Christ.

The event ran from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and offered children’s games, including a toy duck pond, and a ring toss, a petting zoo provided by the Neosho High School FFA, three inflatable toys, including a slide and a castle, face painting, crafts, and balloon animals.

Tonna Powers, one of the event’s organizers, said the size of the fair required every staff member from the church to work Saturday and that every aspect of the fair was free to the public.

“People just seem thankful to have somewhere to take their kids,” Powers said.

Jeannette Wormington brought her four children to Saturday’s fair, and said attending has become a yearly activity for her family.

“It’s free and it’s all about the kids,” Wormington said. “I think it’s great.”

Powers said the event was made possible by church and business donations.

The church also provided a free lunch, drinks, popcorn and snow cones.

“Everybody’s going through hard times, so when it’s free and it’s family oriented, I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Wormington said.

In addition to the fun children’s activities, the event also offered some help to families in need by offering free denim, socks and underwear. 

Organizers said they had approximately 250 pairs of jeans to distribute.

The church also offered free Bibles at Saturday’s event. 

Powers said the fair, held the third week of September each year, was started four years ago in response to the failing economy.

“We wanted to provide to the community during those families’ financial struggles,” Powers said.

That first year, the fair drew around 200 people, and Powers said it has grown each year since then.

Only 30 minutes into Saturday’s event, the fair had already attracted 200 Neosho residents to Morse Park North.

Besides the games and giveaways, the fair also included musical entertainment. Among the entertainers were John and Wilma Jean Porter, who played a couple of Elvis Presley hits for the crowd.

Powers said the intent of the annual fair is to offer support to the Neosho community.

“It’s just to reach out to the community and let them know that Jesus loves them,” Powers said.