Photo by Kelly White
Oak Lawn residents (from left) Maggie Sheehan, 10; Ben Whitney, 10; and Lucy Whitney, 6, roast marshmallows together at Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ's third annual Fall Fest on Saturday night.
The summer-like temperatures have gone, and now it officially feels like the fall season.
To celebrate the changing leaves, crisp air, cozy attire and pumpkin-flavored everything, Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ held its third annual Fall Fest on Saturday at the church, 9411 S. 51st Ave, Oak Lawn.
Perfect seasonal weather also accompanied the experience, with temperatures in the low 60s and the leaves falling.
“The event originally was inspired by a desire for people to have a relaxed time to get together and enjoy each other’s company,” sad Rev. Peggy McClanahan. “It offers a time to hang out with old and new friends of all ages. It is primarily a chance to relax with friendly people who provide a warm welcome into the season for everyone.”
McClanahan was responsible for organizing the event with the help of Pilgrim Faith members Libby Whitney and Lori Harris.
Held in the evening hours, the fest took place on the outdoor playground and fire pit area just behind the church building. Children were able to play together, while the adults caught up with each other, while sitting around a cozy bonfire.
The bonfire pit was quite the center of attention for fest-goers, according to McClanahan, as children were able to roast marshmallows while the adults mingled.
The fest was held free of charge, only asking for a freewill donation. As a community event, it was not strictly limited to Pilgrim Faith members, as all community residents were welcomed and encouraged to attend, according to McClanahan.
“I like the fellowship of everyone getting together,” said Harris, of Oak Lawn. “A way of bringing old and new friends together and catching up after the summer is over.”
“I like that this event is not a very structured event,” said Whitney, of Oak Lawn. “People can hang out, talk, eat or play games at their own leisure. It’s also a nice introduction to the fall season, bringing everyone together again once school has started, and it’s great because it’s for people of all ages.”
Whitney said her children always ask when the fest will be taking place every year, making it an event the family looks forward to together.
“We have so much fun,” her daughter, Lucy, 6, said. “I get to see all of my friends.”
New attendees had just as much fun, including Dave Kosvick, of Oak Lawn.
“This is my first year attending but I would definitely come back again next year,” Kosvick said. “It’s really a nice time for everyone.”
The event is growing more in popularity every year. Saturday evening gathered together 75 local area residents, surpassing last year’s 50 attendees.
The event featured some comfort fall-themed food: homemade chili, hot dogs, s’mores, hot chocolate and apple cider. There were also plenty of interactive games for adults and children alike that were all provided by Pilgrim Faith Church members.
“Our fest is different from other fall festivals because it is smaller and there is more interaction among those who attend,” McClanahan said. “Everyone really enjoys the fire pit, as it provides inclusion for all ages.”