Central Kenai Peninsula churches banded together for "Come Experience Family," an event they described as "a sure cure for the winter doldrums."
The festivities were held at Skyview High School last Friday evening and sponsored by a variety of local churches, businesses and individuals. Several hundred people attended the function.
"We tried to create an event where family members of all ages have an opportunity to come together," said Jeff Aley, one of many people helping to organize the event.
When asked about the idea's inception, Aley quoted the Bible verse Galations 6:10:
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
The event featured several competitive and noncompetitive tournaments and games. Sports included basketball, three-on-three volleyball and table tennis.
Volunteers working the food tables prepare for the fellowship potluck dinner.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
"I love to play basketball," said Zack Rowell. He heard about the event from his brother and came to check it out and get his game on.
"We had a good game," said Rowell after his team won one of the heats. "I'm having a lot of fun here."
Steve Webb was doing his best to provide a challenge to his son Brandon at a game of table tennis.
"I'm having fun, but if I could just keep the ball on the table," Webb said as another round, white blur flew past him.
Some of the other games and activities included chess, cribbage, Scrabble, a craft room with numerous projects, and the vertical rock wall for those interested in giving climbing a try.
"I'm here with my family," said Chuck Morse after announcing checkmate. "I'm also working security (for the event) but fit in a quick chess game in between rounds."
A young athlete serves up some competition during the three-on-three volleyball tournament.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
"I've got two teens and an 18-month-old," said Landon Rice, who heard about the event in church. "I thought it would be great for the kids to get to meet other kids they normally wouldn't have the opportunity to."
Rice, and his wife, Cindy, also were engaged in a game of chess.
There were activity rooms for children of all ages. In the nursery, toddlers Emmanuel Aley and Victoria Rice interacted with each other while playing with stuffed animals and dolls.
"I like hide and seek," said 4-year-old Jack Graham while playing exuberantly with other kids.
Children 4 to 8 years old danced to classical music, played with PlayDoh and Lincoln Logs, and performed puppet shows through a shadow screen with a multitude of projected colors and patterns.
A fellowship potluck dinner was included in the evening. Families brought an assortment of dishes to share. The menu began with chips and a variety of different dips, deviled eggs and many different salads. The main course was chili, enchiladas, party subs, smoked salmon, ham, beef and turkey. Potatoes and pasta were among the many sides. The desserts outnumbered all the other dishes with several pans of brownies and cookies, cakes and other pastries.
Further entertainment was provided by the band Kingdom. In addition to a self titled CD, the band plays every Sunday at its church.
"This is awesome," said John Thornton, who sings and plays guitar in the band. "We've really looked forward to being a part of this."
The event wound down with a closing ceremony that presented awards to the tournament champions. Door prizes and gift certificates provided through donations from local merchants also were handed out. One lucky winner received the grand prize -- a complementary room at the Aspen Hotel.
"A lot of people worked really hard on this event," said Aley, "but we had a great turnout, and I think it was really fun for a lot of people."
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