With bouncy castles and snakes in the church, it was an unusual family event!
By Gisele McKnight
Every year, the town of Grand Bay-Westfield holds a month-long event called Winterfest. It’s a way to make the coldest, snowiest time of the year a bit more enjoyable.
This year, the Church of the Resurrection, affectionately known as The Rez, decided to get in on the fun during the last weekend of Winterfest. The plan had two aims: invite the community to have fun at The Rez, and give them a taste of how much fun their planned indoor play park is going to be once it’s built.
“The thought was, ‘how can we bless the town with Winterfest and also test drive the vibe of what could be when the back space — for the play park — is complete,” said the Rev. Mike Caines, priest and rector of The Rez, in the Parish of The Nerepis and St. John. “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come unto me.’ He didn’t say where!”
So they rented two bouncy castles, set up a photo booth, found some face painters, called up the Cherry Brook Zoo, and had a blast on Feb. 24.
“The plan was to have the bouncy castles in the back (where the play park will be) but the big one wouldn’t fit,” said Mike.
So everything moved to the sanctuary, including three snakes, one turtle and one scorpion from the zoo.
“The sanctuary was cleared to make way for a huge 17-foot slide, along with bouncy castles, a photo booth, face painting, ring toss, and a canteen with treats, carnival popcorn machine and hotdogs,” said warden Cindi-Lee Campbell. “Our local Cherry Brook Zoo also came, thrilling everyone with their Reptile Encounter, including Tezca, the albino Burmese Python, who looked very dapper in his hat!”
Almost 300 people attended the afternoon event.
“It was a really good time!” said Mike. “We had over 110 children who stayed the whole two hours, and at least 150 adults. I walked around asking people ‘what do you think about an indoor play park?’ and they all said, ‘yes, we need this!’ One person said there is nowhere to meet in our town.”
While no one was trying to make a statement or be a rebel — with screaming kids, bouncy castles and snakes in the church — Mike did hear many favourable comments, including one person who said, ‘This is a church that wants to have fun!’
“One-hundred and ten kids have a positive memory,” he said. “It gives parents and the town a snap shot. There is clearly a need for this.”
The event came together quickly, with many volunteers making the work load appear light, said Cindi-Lee, adding a big thank you to all involved.
“This was a wonderful opportunity to bring our community into our church, showing them the future location of our indoor play park,” she said. “With the many squeals of delight and roaring laughter heard all afternoon, we can’t wait to welcome everyone again.”