By Sherrie Norris
It’s not your typical fall fair, but the annual Halloween alternative at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone brings in a fair crowd, for certain.
For over 25 years, the event has attracted hundreds of guests for a fun-filled evening — and this year should be no exception.
The 2019 Country Fall Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 30 from 5:30-8 p.m. in the gymnasium and first floor area of the church; it promises to be a time to remember for all members of the family — from the young to the young at heart. It’s all about food, fellowship, games and the reminder that Mount Vernon loves you – and so does God.
In preparation for this community outreach, which is free and open to the public, the church staff and volunteers are already hard at work to bring it all together.
According to Kim McIntyre, spokesperson for the children’s department at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, it is the desire of the church to provide a safe and family-friendly alternative for the community to the traditional trick or treating. “Over the years, it has become a true community fellowship,” she said.
Associate Pastor, Bud Russell, who is celebrating his 35th year with the church, recalled how it all started in the late 80s.
“We began using proceeds (from the event) to help fund youth mission trips and projects, which I was organizing as youth pastor. Bank then, we had lots of traditional games, including pie throwing and apple bobbing.”
One of his favorite memories, Russell said, was the block of ice upon which people could pay to have someone sit for 15 minutes.
“The only way you could get out of it was to double the money to put the person back on it who put you on it to begin with. Needless to say, we brought in a lot of money!”
Those early crowds attracted “maybe a couple hundred people,” Russell said. Since then, the attendance has reached around 800 each year.
According to McIntyre, annual reports paint the picture of growth and success very well.
“In 1995, the entire event could be held in our gym,” she said. “Now, we not only use the gym, but we also use all of our first floor rooms, the outdoor playground and a portion of our parking lot. We offer games, inflatables and three to four choices of food items, in addition to popcorn, cotton candy, caramel apples, soft drinks, coffee with pumpkin spice creamer and cider
From 20 games in 2005, this year’s plan, (weather permitting) includes 34 games with six inflatable bounce games.
“This year we have five games that will offer prizes instead of candy, but, be warned — you will have to get slimed or a prize at one of those games.”
And yes, she added, “Our games are for all ages — from 2 years of age to 99!”
It’s nearly impossible to estimate how much candy will be distributed that evening, McIntyre said. “But we usually try to have two to three 30-gallon totes filled, including one earmarked just for preschoolers.
“As we get close to the end of the night, and if we have candy left, we encourage parents to take their favorites.”
In 2018, she said, the church served 85 pounds of pork, 650 pounds of potatoes, 15 pounds of chili, 48 pounds of cheese and about 1,000 cans/bottles of soda and water to about 750 guests. The Hispanic Ministry Class provided 1,150 tacos, which is always a big hit!
“It will be an evening packed with carnival games, free candy, food, and more fun and laughter to keep you smilin’ for days,” said Cindy Retherford, Director of Children’s Ministry at Mount Vernon.
Costumes are encouraged, but hopefully, those that are pleasant, not scary in nature, and even better, are those reflective of Biblical characters.
The church has been “extremely blessed and are very appreciative” to the members, the community and several businesses who have donated and/or given excellent prices to help us make this possible for Boone,” she added.
Traditionally, business who assist in the success of the fair include Hollar and Greene, The Scarlett Hen and Jump, Inc.
Mount Vernon Baptist Church is located at 3505 Bamboo Road in Boone.
For more information, visit www.mvbcb.org.
Scenes from earlier fall fair events at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone