Local church continues its annual park service, adds vendors

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Ivy Jacobs photo Crimson Cross Quartet members Brian McCluskey, Josh McCluskey and Jeff Bridgewater entertained the crowd gathered recently for the Bee Ridge Congregational Church fish fry at the Forest Park Pavilion/Cow Palace.

Forest Park wasn’t as busy like years past during the first weekend of October, but a local church continued on with their community service program despite the cancellation of Fall Frenzy festival.

Bee Ridge Congregation Church was involved in providing a community church service on the first Sunday of October at Forest Park during the Tri Kappa of Clay County’s Fall Frenzy. When the announcement was made in September the nonprofit organization was regrettably canceling the event because it had become too large of a project for the small group to host, the church decided to carry on.

Pastor Jeff Bridgewater said the church rented out the pavilion, which had plenty of room, and opened the event up to allow a few local vendors to sit up for free.

“We wanted to have a little more for people to do while at the Cow Palace for the fish fry,” Bridgwater said, adding he was really pleased with the crowd considering there were other events going on in the area.

The activity at Forest Park started with a church service at 10:30 a.m.

Crimson Cross Quartet members Brian McCluskey, Josh McCluskey and Bridgewater entertained the crowd twice during the event, along with other singers throughout the afternoon. (Bass vocalist Gerald Meeks was unable to attend due to illness.)

The Jonah Fish Fry, featuring homemade desserts and the usual side dishes made by the church congregation, started at noon and served a steady line of people having their lunch in the park.

There were a handful of vendors with items to browse through, with a couple featuring handmade crafts and greeting cards. Being the first time to set up for the event, most vendors took advantage of the free opportunity to have people see their wares. They were excited when people at the event were shopping in earnest.

“I wasn’t expecting much,” said one shy vendor, who showed off their handy work for the first time to buyers. “But this was so much fun, meeting everyone today, I’d love to do this again.”

The event inspired conversations of picking up the gauntlet and trying to create another community festival-type event, possibly featuring only local craftsmen, artisans and musicians, that could take place during the fall.

Many church members/volunteers working the event, and local residents who stopped by to listen to the music or eat lunch, were talking about the beauty of Forest Park in the fall, the nice weather, the uplifting spirit of hearing the music and seeing families and community residents enjoying time spent together as a driving force to do it all again, next fall.

“There’s a lot of talent in our community to tap into, and the parks department is really great to work with,” said Bridgewater about the possibility of a new festival in the future. “We’re going to have to get together and talk about how to do this.”

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