Ferriday gathers for day

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 30, 2009

NATCHEZ — With smoke from a grill and high decibel hymns filling the air Saturday, Ferriday residents gathered for the first-ever Community Outreach and Back to School Extravaganza.

An orange poster board tied to a street sign gave passersby all the direction they needed to enjoy the event. The sign read simply “Family Fun, Turn Here.”

Doty Road Church of God’s the Rev. Simeon Green III, who generated the idea for the event, said he felt organizing the community picnic was a job God called him to carry out.

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“It was a vision from God,” Green said. “And this is his way of bringing the town together. So many of the kids around here don’t have anything to do. This is a way for them to have some activity and bring the community a little closer.”

Saturday’s community wide picnic included free admission, free food and drinks, door prizes, games, live music and even a health fair.

Standing at the mesh door of the Space Walk in the field next to the Florida Street gym, Vidalia resident Carol Armsted watched has her four children bounced in excitement.

“This is what they talked about the whole way here, the Space Walk,” Armsted said. “And this is good for them, there isn’t always a lot for kids to do around here, so this kind of thing gives them something to look forward to.”

But Armsted, like the event’s organizers said she sees events like Saturday’s picnic as having a greater value than just entertainment for kids.

“This is a way for the whole community to come together and enjoy themselves,” she said.

And for event organizer and Ferriday Chamber of Commerce President Liz Brooking getting the community together was the best part of Saturday’s event.

“We want to establish unity within our community,” Brooking said. “Today we don’t see a lot of people that know all of their neighbors and the people in their community. We want people to have a way to just get to know each other. That’s what builds communities.”

The event was also sponsored by Real Ministries, of Monterey, and added a visible Christian theme to the day’s events.

“We need to focus on bringing God back to the center of our lives,” Brookings said. “Not just when things are bad, that’s a message we want to share today.”

And due to the overwhelming community support the event received, Green and his fellow organizers are already discussing plans for a similar extravaganza next year.