Annual church festival set for tonight

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 7, 2015

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Church of God at McNeely Road will host its annual Hallelujah Festival from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this evening at the church.

Husband and wife Michael and Kristle Messer, who serve as the children and youth pastors of the church are in charge of the festival this year, and they believe it is an important outreach to the community.

“We do three major outreach programs a year,” Kristle Messer said. “Eggapolooza, Vacation Bible School and the Hallelujah Festival. They are just different ways we choose to give back to the community.”

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Tonight’s event is free and open to the public.

The festival will include a bouncy house, cakewalk and games with prizes. Because the weather forecast includes rain, the festival will take place inside of the church.

Other churches in the area host fall festivals closer to Halloween. They usually serve as safer alternatives to other Halloween festivities.

While the Hallelujah Festival is similar, Kristle says it is more if a harvest festival or fall celebration.

“Costumes are welcome to be worn,” she said. “We would prefer that they not be scary, but we will not turn any child away.”

The first 150 kids through the door will receive one of two Christian CD’s for free. They are Christian band “Go Fish,” or “Jump Start,” which is a CD of Bible verses set to hip hop music.

Michael Messer said he is not sure exactly how many years the church has been hosting the festival but he is certain it has been more than 30 years.

This year, the festival will include a new feature, “Saints on the Hill.”

“Saints on the Hill is a spin-off of Angels on the Bluff,” Kristle said. “We were going to have the tombstones set up on the hill and have actors tell about the various people from the Bible, but because we have moved them inside they will be positioned in different classrooms and someone guide groups through to see all of the actors.”

This new addition will take the place of the maze they have done in previous years.

Both Michael and Kristle agree the festival has always been well attended and they do not expect any difference this year.

“We just want to make sure the community knows we will have the festival rain or shine,” Kristle said. “We will have everything ready and our youth area will be transformed. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

Anyone with questions can contact Kristle Messer by calling 601-807-8461.