A Family Affair draws large crowd to Veterans Memorial Park
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: August 07, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
It was indeed A Family Affair - and a large one at that - when about 800 people attended Saturday’s 5th annual celebration held at Veterans Memorial Park. The free festival featured live music, DJ, food, games, raffles and activities for the hundreds of people who enjoyed the afternoon at the park, made possible by donations from 11 churches in Santa Paula and Ventura.
The Santa Paula Police Department and Clergy Council sponsored the event through the Santa Paula Vineyard Christian Fellowship, the lead and coordinating church. The event started as a small gathering hosted and coordinated by the Santa Paula Vineyard Christian Fellowship led by Pastor Johnny Flores and his wife Margarita.
Spanish bingo - known as “loteria” - had its own booth, and about a dozen more circled the park including rock painting, informational booths, darts, fishbowl toss, inflatable jumps and face painting. There were several boutiques, and free hot dogs and punch for all who asked.
“My daughter loves art,” said Karen Lewis of Santa Paula, watching her 4-year-old Luci dabble at a table devoted to painting and coloring. “She used to finger-paint with her baby food!”
Curious children followed a mime and it was obvious they enjoyed his silent but animated company.
The Girl Scout booth had friendship bracelets for all who asked. Glenda Learn, a troop leader for about 17 years, said now that her own Scouts are grown she oversees the blooming Daisys, those youngest Scouts of 3 and 4 years old.
Learn was collecting memories of those who had been Girl Scouts, and had another goal for the day: “We’re looking for leaders” to become involved with the girls and help them develop their potential for future success. She urged anyone interested in becoming a Girl Scout troop leader or who have children who would like to join to visit www.girlscoutsccc.org for more information on Girls Scouts in Ventura County, visit Heritage Valley Girl Scouts on Facebook, or call Sylvia Kuaea at 800-822-2427 ext 3391.
The businesses and community organizations invited were selected because they provide services to the community. A mobile mammogram facility provided by the Ventura County Health Agency, Children’s Intensive Response Team, and organizations such as United Parents of Camarillo and a group to help families with children who have behavioral problems or mental disorders, United Parents, also had booths at the festival.
Santa Paula Fire and Police Department personnel interacted with families, and prizes carefully selected for each member of the family were raffled at the main stage.
Many of the booths offered subtle inspirational and spiritual messages such as Tic-Tac-Toe that urged, “Think about the person you want to be!” and a Noah’s Ark beanbag game sponsored by the Santa Paula Church of Christ. “We bring our group out each year,” and this year offered candy as well as Scripture bookmarks and washable tattoos, said Liz Perez.
Her husband Robert Perez is Senior Pastor of the church that Liz Perez said takes part in the event each year because, “It brings unity to our community.... There are a lot of churches here and different ways to interact with the kids, and it’s totally free,” unlike a regular carnival where activities are charged for.
The churches that participate agree not to promote themselves or collection donations, but rather concentrate on common themes of love and acceptance. Noted Perez, “It’s definitely a family affair,” an event where children and adults alike “all feel the love of Christ” and the spirit of caring for each other that is so evident in Santa Paula.