Faith and family: Highland hosts 10th annual expo

Published 12:59 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

By Morgan Mizell

The Natchez democrat

NATCHEZ — Highland Baptist Church is putting the finishing touches on it 10th Annual Highland Wildlife Expo set for Sept. 8 at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center.

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Doors will open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Minister of music Bruce McCall has been working with other church members host the annual event.

The expo began at the church and took place there for several years before the attendance grew too large.

“We outgrew the church location when we had about 500 attending,” McCall said. “We are just really excited to be able to have provided this family- friendly event, free of charge, for a decade now.”

The event features vendors, speakers and demonstrators and is aimed at trading information, not buying and selling products.

“We will have about 30 plus booths,” McCall said.

Some of the highlights this year include taxidermy, leather works, food vendors, wildlife artists and game wardens.

“We will have demonstrations of turkey and duck calls,” McCall said. “We will also have speaker Dr. Joe Bufford, who is a pro-staffer with Dead Ringer Outdoors and BowADX. He is an outdoor enthusiast, writer, speaker and father.”

Most of the booths and demonstrations are geared toward adults, but children will also have plenty to do.

“We have an area just for kids,” McCall said. “Smokey the Bear and Cooper the Dog will be there. We will also have the snake lady there and crafts and prizes for the kids.”

The event serves as a way to connect the church with the community, McCall said, which is why members feel strongly about keeping the expo admission free.

“The Lord provides each year for this event,” McCall said. “Our church sets aside a portion of the budget to support this ministry, but since we started hosting the event at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center, the center and the town of Vidalia have been gracious enough to fully support our event. Also, we have several other corporate sponsors who have supported us for all 10 years.”

McCall said he expects to continue the event as long as people come and enjoy themselves.

“When we started the event, we saw about 250 people,” McCall said. “Through the years we have grown to more than 1,200. I think folks are looking for something to get involved in with the whole family.”

McCall said plenty of good food and lots of door prizes, as well as evening entertainment. He also mentioned music entertainment in the early evening.

The event also lends itself to volunteers and others sharing what Jesus has done for them, McCall said..

“Each year when we review our lessons following the event, we talk about all sorts of experiences we had mingling with our guests,” McCall said. “I think that is where our volunteers receive their blessings for doing this each year.”

Anyone interested in becoming a vendor or sponsor can contact McCall at 601-807-3778.