By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a long list of changes in most aspects of people’s daily lives. Add Grace Fellowship Church’s annual Unity in the Community Festival to the list.
The event, which is being billed as “Unity in the Community, COVID Style,” has for the past several years served as a back-to-school celebration for roughly 1,000 children and adults. It will still be held — from 1 to 4 p.m. this Saturday, July 25 — but it won’t be the normal afternoon of fun, games and Gospel-based entertainment locals have come to expect.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has really changed things,” said festival spokeswoman Ruth Robinson in a video posted on the church’s Facebook page. “One thing it hasn’t changed is, it hasn’t canceled this event.”
The festival traditionally features a carnival setting that includes bouncy houses, pony and train rides and numerous games and activities, as well as popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones and other carnival treats. None of that will be evident this year.
Instead, the event will be a drive-through affair at which school-age children who are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian will be given free school supplies and / or school uniforms.
“There won’t be a bouncy house; there won’t be awesome entertainment; there won’t be snow cones, and there won’t be a giant tent,” Robinson said in the video. “We’ll still be doing what matters, giving kids the best start they can have for a great school year.”
The church is located at 1412 East Nashville Avenue (U.S. 31).