Festivals celebrating everything from antique cars to zucchini squash abound in rural communities.
Coming Oct. 6 to the parking lot of First Assembly of God Church is a new festival – a festival celebrating God’s gift, the Bible.
Lance Nelson, pastor of the First Assembly of God Church said, “The vision came from the Stilwell Strawberry Festival.”
Nelson said a group visited the strawberry festival in May. While at the Strawberry Festival they began talking about all the excitement over strawberries.
From there, they began talking about getting people just as excited about the Word of God.
The idea blossomed and the group came up with Wordstock The Bible Festival.
“What we wanted to do was put together a celebration of the stories of the Bible,” Nelson said.
“But we wanted it to be more than Sunday school or a vacation Bible school. We wanted it to be something participants could get involved in and actually experience some of the favorite stories of the Bible,” he said.
Since the conception of the idea, teams have worked to put together an all-day event centered around the Bible.
“We’ve put a celebration together that will have something for everyone without involving any preaching,” Nelson said.
“We’re just celebrating the most significant gift God has delivered to us,” he said.
Booths on nearly two acres of land will bring to life the stories of the Bible as church participants don period appropriate costumes to tell the stories.
“We will have Balaam and the talking donkey. There will also be all the things at other festivals, just Bible themed,” Nelson said.
Participating churches have lined up biblical portrayals of a potter and wheel, a loom and a dunking booth to represent Naaman’s seven dips in the Jordan River.
Church crews have worked for weeks building a simulated rock wall providing both a boundary for the celebration and giving the impression of the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem.
“The central focus of the festival is the Bible and the great gift God has given us,” Nelson said.
Nelson said there will be giant inflatable jumpers for the kids, face painting with biblical themes, a biblical craft show – indoors in the air conditioning – and a free concert that evening featuring Apologetix, a Christian parody band.
Nelson said the Apologetix band takes popular songs and rewrites them into a Bible story.
“With the exception of the food and crafts everything is free,” Nelson said.
Along with food, fun and games, festival visitors will have the opportunity to win an E-tablet loaded with bible software.
“We will have free giveaways every hour,” Nelson said. “We want the people to walk away with a general good feeling about the Bible. We want to reach beyond those already involved with an organized church.
“We’re hoping we can turn this into an annual event,” he said.
Nelson said there are about 200 parking spots in close proximity to the festival. Maple Street will be closed down to a one-way street.
The festival begins at 10 a.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m.