Churches let loose for Independence Day

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bethsalem Baptist Church and Zion Ridge Church of God are holding their Fourth of July celebrations for families and friends this Sunday.

Bethsalem Baptist Church’s fifth annual 4th Family Celebration will be held this Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. The party will have free food and drinks, free rides and inflatables for young children and a 30-minute firework spectacular. There will be music and entertainment for the adults as well.

“Our heart’s desire is to have an event that is attractive to the community,” Pastor Brad Eubank said. “It is a gift to the community from the church. We hope to have people without a church home come out and connect in a non-threatening environment.”

Bethsalem has a large budget for the expanding event with about $10,000 going into it for the estimated 2,000 people expected to attend.

“God has blessed us in amazing ways,” Eubank said. “Our hearts tell us to do it for free every year. This is our chance to open the walls of the church and say that we care about the community.”

Zion Ridge Church of God is also formulating a Fourth of July celebration tradition sponsored by the youth group.

The second Freedom Fest thrown by Zion Ridge will be held at the church from 6 to 9 p.m. as well. It will feature gospel music from local artists, food, a giant slide and moonwalk for children, basketball, volleyball, a child and adult cake walk, a seed spitting contest and door prizes. To top it all off, Zion Ridge will also have a fireworks display at 9.

“We just wanted to make it something big for the community,” Youth Pastor Jason Kelley said. “The whole church gets involved, and it’s a good thing within the church.”

Last year, Zion Ridge was unable to have fireworks because of the severe drought conditions, but this year is guaranteed to be a blast with fire trucks on standby according to Kelley.

The fun takes several months to plan and a lot of hard work from the youth group, but Kelley said a lot falls on his shoulders as the youth pastor.

“I can’t take credit for all of it,” Kelley said.

Both church events are free, and Zion Ridge and Bethsalem encourage all that don’t belong to a local church come by to relax and have some family fun.