'It's like kid heaven': Grace Church's Harvest Party puts family fun on display

Families with children of all ages gathered at Grace Church last Friday for the church's annual Harvest Party.

Activities included trick-or-treating, bounce houses, a magic show, a photo booth, raffle and guessing games, a cupcake walk and carnival games.

Mike Case, Grace Church's family life pastor, emphasized the event was free and open to everyone in the community.

"We love families," he said. "What we want to do as a church is build our community so we can reach a community."

He added that the event was easily accessible with free food provided so that families didn't have to worry about fitting in dinner.

"It's a very nonthreatening environment," he added. "We ask that people don't wear scary costumes."

Since its start, the Harvest Party has gotten so big that now people hear about it just by word of mouth. The event has also gained some of its own traditions along the way.

"We've set up decorated doors for trick-or-treating in the past," Case said, "but last year we didn't, and that was something people really missed. So they're back this year."

"We've also added a photo booth in the last two years," he added.

Case estimated that over 700 people attended the event last year, and this year's Harvest Party was shaping up to be just as well-attended."We really love this town," he said. "We love Mahomet, we love families and we love the community."After hearing about the event from their friends who came last year, Mackenzie and Casey Sommers decided to give the Harvest Party a whirl along with their three kids: Ava (8), Paige (3) and Wade (2) Sommers.

Friday was their first time at the event, and Mackenzie Sommers was impressed.

"They really do a lot," she said. "It's a big place, and there's a great atmosphere. And it's inside, so you don't have to worry about the weather."

Cynthia Johnson was also convinced that holding the event inside made all the difference.

"It's a great family event, rain or shine," she said. "It's well-organized fun, so it's perfect."

Angela Rhodes, who has been to the Harvest Party multiple times, enjoyed the fall festivities so much so that she encouraged her daughter, Brooke Rhodes, to invite friends.

"It's a great community event," she said. "It's good, safe fun."

Brooke Rhodes took delight in the number of games at the Harvest Party, and friend Caroline Mills agreed.

Jackie Risley, who grew up in Mahomet, said that though this was her first time at the Harvest Party, her parents attend Grace Church. The pair told her about the event and she brought along sons Levi (5) and Emmet (3) Risley."There's just so many awesome things to do," Jackie Risley said. "I'm pretty impressed with the content. It's like kid heaven."

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