The Fall Festival
Many churches have for years hosted a "Fall Festival." Usually it involves fun and games for the kids and food for the adults, but who comes to your event? Is it just a fun event you do every year, or is a true outreach for your church?
Your Fall Festival is a great opportunity for your congregation to have direct contact with the people of your community. This event can be one that the community looks forward to every year!
suggestions on getting your Fall Festival started:
Capitalize on a day that the world has already set aside - October 31. Although this is a pagan holiday, it is a great opportunity for the church to offer a better choice for the community than the local spook house. Be sure that your event does not have any trappings of the day, such as carved pumpkins, scarecrows, demons or spooks. Although we have tried various hours for our event, the time 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm seems to work the best.
To make this event work well, it takes all hands on deck. This is an event that should involve the entire church congregation, adults, students and children. Also, the entire staff should model for the congregation by participating.
Hold the activity at the church. This gives non-churched participants an opportunity to step foot in your buildings in a non-threatening environment. Our church turns the worship center into booths, classrooms into activities and erects a large tent outside for serving the hot dogs. Don't forget the parking! When you bring out the entire community that means lots of cars!
the usual methods of promoting the event by issuing a news release to
television, radio and newspaper.
If the budget allows, purchase advertising. Hang a banner across the front
of the building or over the road. If your schools will
allow, prepare a flyer to send home with children promoting the free
event. "Yard signs" at the driveway of the elementary
schools promoting the event the day of also work well. Can't get on
campus? Place your signs on neighboring property. Be sure and get
permission and avoid placing signs on right-of-ways. You can also
involve a radio station by getting airtime in exchange for having their
DJ playing Christian tunes outside at the entrance the night of the
If your schools will allow, prepare a flyer to send home with children promoting the free event. "Yard signs" at the driveway of the elementary schools promoting the event the day of also work well. Can't get on campus? Place your signs on neighboring property. Be sure and get permission and avoid placing signs on right-of-ways. You can also involve a radio station by getting airtime in exchange for having their DJ playing Christian tunes outside at the entrance the night of the event.
Have each Bible study class come up with a booth idea. These can range from the "David and Goliath Bean Bag Toss" to the "Plaster the Pastor Pie Throw." Other ideas include basketball throw, cupcake walk, moonwalk, dunking booth, petting zoo, face painting and so on . . . Turn every class room, hallway and corner into an exciting activity. Remind your folks about keeping everything on a Biblical theme and stay away from a Halloween theme. Don't forget the wandering entertainment. Clowns with balloons and unicycles, street illusionists and the pastor dressed as a ringmaster greeting people at the exit. You might be surprised at the talent in your congregation. Here is a link to a page of booth ideas: Booth Ideas
together the church cooking team and get them involved! Hot dogs on the
grill and potato chips work well. The local Coke or Pepsi distributor
will donate the drinks. Other businesses in the community love to
pitch in to a well organized event. Try to keep the event free for
the kids. We have helped cover the costs of the event expense by
charging the adults one dollar for the meal. Also, serve popcorn at
several locations around the building to add to the festive
As stated above, if your event is well promoted, the people will come! That means lots of cars! Be sure that you have a parking crew prepared to handle parking cars. Utilize golf carts to carry families to the front door and then back to their cars. My favorite place to work during the event is the golf carts. I find it a great opportunity to share Christ with those that ride in my cart and I get their responses about the event and an opportunity to invite them back for Sunday.
Direct all your guest in through one entrance. Our event is so popular that people begin lining up an hour before the doors open. Provide "heavenly hosts" to greet people and give directions. Register your guests and issue a punch card for each child. The information can be used for further mailings and outreach. This punch card has a square and number for each booth that is punched each time the child finishes a particular activity. At the final exit, the child exchanges his finished punch card for a bag of candy. Don't forget to include a note in each bag with church information and a scripture.
Go all out on your decorations. Hang colored paper streamers, banners and balloons around the facilities. Bales of hay, stalks of corn and a harvest motif work well also.
And yes, all of this along with popcorn and the world coming into your facility is going to make a mess. Just count on it. At closing, begin the cleanup with all your volunteers. Prepare them in advance about the cleanup. You'll be amazed at how quick the building can go back together with everyone's help. Don't put it off to the next day or you'll be by yourself.
Another Reason for Mom and Dad to Come
Ok, how do get the lost mom and dad to get out of the easy chair and bring their children to a church. Offer a door prize in your promotion. Giveaway a free cruise or a four-wheeler as a door prize for the adults and they'll come out of the woodwork!
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