BROOKSVILLE — With the thought of giving back to the community while celebrating the country's freedom, Grace World Outreach Church will have its second annual July 4th Family Fun Day at Tom Varn Park.
"Our goal is to bring our community together and create a free, family-friendly event where we can build long-lasting relationships," said David Beal, the church's outreach director. "It's our pastor David Garcia's heart to get out here and do this. We're just his arm reaching out, and the church has come together to pay for the event as a special gift."
Based on numbers from last year's event, Beal is expecting at least 600 people to attend the event, which will be centrally located in the park, near the walking trail and pond. All ages are welcome.
"Last year, we didn't really advertise, and hundreds of people came," Beal said. "They thought they were just coming to the park to take a walk and play on the playground, but there was so much more for them to do. People hear the music and see the tents and activities going on."
As people arrive, they may register at the reception tent, where they will be welcomed and receive free tickets for food, including hot dogs, and drinks, as well as snow cones and popcorn.
Activities for children will include balloon twister creations, face painting and games such as a cornhole beanbag toss. A clown will also be there to interact with children.
Beal plans to address the crowd for a few minutes.
"We'll do a little talk about celebrating the Fourth of July. I'll let them know Grace World has sponsored this and we're reaching out to our community, sharing God's love," he said. "We'll have little invite bags given out to the families. In that bag, we'll list the activities our church has for our children and teenagers and adults."
Beal said he hopes to have some giveaway items for people at the event.
Live Christian music provided by the church's youth praise band, Next Level, as well as DJ-style recorded music that is "family-friendly, positive, fun stuff" will be part of the entertainment, Beal said.
There will be a five-member safety team, plus helpers, walking the perimeter of the event throughout the day.
Beal's wife, Debra, who is on the planning committee for the celebration, believes family-oriented events like this are important to the community.
"There's not a lot going on in our local area," Debra Beal said. "This (event) is so families can come out and not have to worry about their kids, knowing it's a safe place for them to come and have a good time that won't cost them anything."
David Beal wants to encourage those in need of help to attend.
"It's an opportunity to steer them to places that will meet their needs," he said. "They might be struggling, and we can find some of our resources to help them out and places where they can connect. They may need help with some groceries or counseling — whatever they may need."