Every year TCN hosts a Fall Festival. This year the head coordinator stepped down, and no one was stepping up to the plate. Because of our passion for community outreach, my husband and I decided to lead this event. We had plenty of great ideas, and tons of fantastic helpers. The event would NOT have been nearly as successful without every single volunteer on board. I feel so blessed to be a part of this event, and wanted to share with you the things our Church came together to accomplish and why the team did what they did.
Although this was a great event in the past, the team decided to make some big changes to shape the course of this event’s future. In the past, whether intentional or not, the event had remained internal. It was a fellowship of those who were already members and regular attenders of our church- gathering together to hit off the new school year. Instead, we took the focus off ourselves and pushed for a community focus. The team believed that this was already an outsider-friendly event, we just needed to get the community there! We did three major things to implement this:
- Campaigned Neighborhoods & Personally Invited Others
- Hundreds of half-sheet fliers were printed for anyone to take and pass out. Sunday School classes got involved and used their hour to hand the fliers out to the nearby neighborhoods. Tap and I took handfuls to hand out to our neighbors and friends.
- Gave an Incentive/Gift
- This year we had food and icecream being sold from Susie’s Big Dipper Food Truck. We handed out Free Scoop Vouchers to all those we invited. We also sold these vouchers to church members to hand out to their invitees.
- We were very intentional about the poster. In this generation people do not stop to read paragraphs, so we tried to keep the vital information BIG and simple. Fliers were also designed with a modern etsy vibe, using bright colors to attract attention even from children- since it is a child friendly event.
- We are blessed to have a radio DJ at our church. He made sure that our event’s information was broadcast through the Public Service Announcements.
- Changed the Name of the Event
- The TCN Family Fall Festival became Troy Community Fall Festival hosted by TCN. We did not want to exclude those that did not have families, and we wanted to emphasize the community not our church.
We kept a lot of annual favorites like the Cornhole Tournament, Carnival Games, face painting, music, and the opportunity to eat and talk. We did however, update all of these features. Those who volunteered in the kitchen in the past, were kept from enjoying any of the outdoor activities. This year we brought in a food truck so that our volunteers could be used in shorter shifts in the midst of the action. The cornhole tournament required borrowing cornholes from church family members in the past, and were usually returned a little lesser off than we got them. This year we had two wonderful volunteers make three sets of cornhole for the Church to own and keep. We painted them with the TCN logo to promote branding. Most of the Carnival games were updated and a lot of new ones were added to mix things up from years past.
The biggest additions to this year’s festival were: human-sized Jenga, Multiple Bounce Houses, An inflatable Obstacle Course for older ages, a performing illusionist, bringing back the petting zoo, adding free popcorn and cotton candy, switching the pie contest to a cake walk, pumpkin decorating, and a live DJ!
Our church has a hard time scrounging up acts for a talent show, so we rely upon pre-recorded mixes. However, this year we had a live MC who announced different competitions that took place in the “center ring.” It was a blast to watch kids and adults participate in sack races, hula-hoop contests, and the like. This was interactive and had the kids and the adults getting involved together as a family. The MC kept the whole event rolling.
A lot of families said that their favorite part was the pumpkin decorating. Instead of using paint and markers, we did nature pumpkins. My sister and her children helped collect several things like milkweed, pinecones, beets, peapods, straw, etc. to use as eyes, ears, hair, and a nose on the pumpkins. Check them out!