LEWISTOWN - Just as organizers hoped, the annual Kickoff Carnival is expanding.
Sponsored by Lewistown churches and the Lewistown Ministerium, the carnival is a day of games, food, music and activities for the community.
The fourth annual carnival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 20 at Rec Park in Lewistown. Christian music, games, prizes, free ice cream, free popcorn, free snowcones and low cost sandwiches and drinks will be part of the event. A bounce house, dunk tank and pony rides also will be part of the entertainment.
Event organizer Larry Neimond stressed that the carnival is not a fundraiser but a chance to give back in appreciation of the gift of grace.
"Our mission is to provide a fun time for all ages to celebrate the good news of Jesus Christ."
New groups are participating this year, Neimond said. Distinguished athletes from Athletes in Action from Penn State University will speak to the crowd and local organizations like the library, a model railroad club and Communities That Care also are participating this year, Neimond said.
Everyone is invited, and walk-ins are encouraged to stop by, he said.
"It's a good event," Neimond said. "In the last couple years, we've had 300 to 500 attend. We have recruited some underprivileged and unchurched children."
A sixth church, Grove Memorial United Methodist, also joined the team of churches this year, Neimond said.
"We encourage more churches to join us," Neimond said, noting that churches donate money and help run the food stands during the event.
Each participating church also is encouraged to provide information about their services and the special programs they offer, Neimond said.
He encouraged interested churches to "come down and check it out to see if they want to participate. I will be at the ice cream stand" if people have questions.
Churches participating in the event are Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Parish, First United Methodist, First Baptist, Evangel Baptist, Lewistown Presbyterian, Grove Memorial United Methodist and St. John's Lutheran.