By Sarah Shurge – Free food, cars, rides, games, attractions, face painting, prizes, trophies, car demonstrations, and did I mention free food? All that along with smiling faces, good attitudes and a day of fun for the whole family can be found on Aug. 22 from 12-5 p.m at CrossPointe Community Church, 36125 Glenwood, for their 10th Annual Family Fest.
Nine years ago, Pastor Phil DiLernia came to CrossPointe and decided to create a Family Fest as a way to reach out to the community. The first year in 2006, 500 people and 23 classic cars showed up. Each year the event became more of a success and the numbers continued to grow. Last year 6,500 people and 425 cars came. This year, DiLernia anticipates 7,500 people and is worried they might not have enough room for all the cars.
Cars start arriving as early as 8 a.m. for no fee registration. The first 500 cars to arrive get a spot on the field.
“Family Fest has been very successful and in order to do this right, we need about 300 volunteers for the event. Right now we have around 350 members for our weekly attendance,” said DiLernia. “Our church is growing, but so is Family Fest.”
DiLernia says Family Fest is a way for the community to know they are welcome and don’t have to pass a test to come to the church. Everyone is welcome.
The church’s motto is “all people matter to God” and the people of CrossPointe believe it and act like it. Family Fest will cost around $20,000 to throw this year and 75% of it is paid by church donations. The other 25% comes from local businesses that sponsor the event. The church is always looking for more sponsors.
“At the end of the day, church isn’t about money but without money, you can’t reach out to the people. I’m very blessed with how generous the people of my church are,” said DiLernia.
Besides Family Fest, CrossPointe has been serving the community for more than 100 years. It was formerly First Baptist Church of Wayne.
Their services are at 10:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays. They also have multiple studies and activities during the week.
The church reaches out to the community through dinners, a clothes closet and food pantry to help the needy, and the youth group goes on mission trips. CrossPointe currently supports 75 kids in Columbia.
“Everything we do is for the people,” said DiLernia. “Family Fest is a genuine family fun day with no catch! Everything is free. Everyone is welcome. We don’t pressure you to come to our church. The only catch is if you aren’t going to a church and one day think to yourself that you want to join, why not join the church that gave you the free food and had the cool cars!”