AVON PARK — The First United Methodist Church of Avon Park hosted the 100th anniversary celebration of their sanctuary on Saturday, March 6 The community was invited to enjoy all the festivities.

Many years ago a small group of people got together in 1914 and decided to start a Methodist church in Avon Park. The project was approved and services were first held in the new church in 1921, which is located at 200 S. Lake Ave.

“We decided to add the festival to our anniversary celebration to make it special for everyone,” said Karl Cox, event coordinator. “We talked about how we would do that and decided having a festival would bring the community out. We wanted to get the word out about who we are and what we do.”

Prayers were said for the celebration, also asking for the rain to hold off — at least for a while (which it did).

Even though the day was cool with intermittent drizzling rain, there were games, food, live entertainment, clowns, kid’s bounce house, vendor booths, square dancing and so much more. People still came out to have fun.

“All of the proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club,” said Nell Roberts. “Every community needs one of these clubs. The kids can go there after school to play games and get help from retired teachers with their homework.”

Safety was a huge factor at this event. “Everything is going to be sanitized,” said Cox. We’re going to follow the CDC guidelines. There will be sanitizer and sanitizing wipes available.”

Games for adults were cornhole and bean bag toss. Live entertainment included karaoke. Food trucks were on site for those that wanted to enjoy a nice lunch.

Grace Hudson and Jane Avery with the Avon Park Depot Museum had a table with brochures and information. “The museum is open on Fridays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. We encourage visitors!”

The Heartland Cultural Alliance table was manned by Gaylin Thomas and Carol Dutton. “We just reopened and are open Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Watch for our new event schedule for this fall.”

Don Scott with DES Alterations had a variety of beautiful hand-made items. “I make purses, place mats, quilts, holiday items and even pet carriers.”

Marjorie Schoofs was shopping and bought a nice purse set from one of the vendors. She was also browsing at the Church beading table, talking with Pati Ryan and Kathy Hughes.

Notebooks, cards, dishcloths, scrubbies, purses and so much more could be found at Magical Paper. Gloria Brown was knitting socks while Debi Diaddario was talking to customers.

Chantel Gilmore, with Lula Roe – Newly Inspired You, had a variety of soft, stylish and comfortable ladies clothing. Tops, dresses and leggings in all colors and sizes. She also has a boutique store in Sebring.

You could grab some lunch at James Brown’s Famous Bar-B-Que truck or enjoy roasted corn or potatoes from the Roasted Corn booth. Eva Monk was helping Ross Vickers and Robert Hendrix with the cooking.

Despite the light rain on and off, people came out just to have fun. There was free coffee, popcorn and ice cream as well.

Clarence the Clown and Miss Cozzette created balloon art and fun things for the kids. “We’re here helping out all the way from Louisiana!”

“We just wanted everyone to have a good, safe time celebrating our anniversary with us,” said Cox.

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