HIGH SPRINGS ‒ On a sunny fall day on Oct. 8, the High Springs Civic Center field was alive with activity thanks to the “The Ultimate North Central Florida Carnival.” A number of vendors and food trucks shared the field with bounce houses, pony rides, train rides, face painters, and various games, all geared toward children’s activities.

The event was sponsored by the Deeper Purpose Community Church to raise funds for their new church to be built at16817 N.W. on U.S. Highway 441. The church has sponsored a number events for children including an annual Easter Egg Hunt, summer camps and a pre-school and after-school care center. The church identifies itself as a “Spirit-Filled & Purpose-Driven, Multi-Racial, Multicultural Non-Denominational Christian Church Serving our Communities with a Purpose”

“In the past we have held an annual Fall Festival, but this year we wanted to expand it and offer a festive carnival for the community’s children and help raise funds for building a larger church, since we have outgrown our present location,” said church Pastor Adam Joy. The event garnered support and interest from both the community and vendors with the High Springs Lions Club donating their time and train rides for free.

“We wanted to make it a carnival with all the features they would have for the whole community to enjoy,” said Joy. “We had a large turn out and not just from our community. Some visitors said they drove two hours to come here for the event.”

To raise money for the new church building, food vendors were charged a $100 fee and product vendors were charged $50. Adults and children under 3 years of age enjoyed free admission, while there was an entree fee for children to have an all-access pass. “While we charged the vendors, most of that money actually went toward paying for things like the bounce houses, face painters, train operators and over all expenses which the church covered. What was left over will go into the church building fund,” said Joy. “

Continuous large crowds of families wandered among the tents and games throughout the warm fall afternoon. Lines formed for popular train rides, horse rides, mechanical bull rides and bounce houses. A variety of vendors included nonprofit organizations as well as UF Health offering free COVID testing and shots, and a blood mobile seeking donors.

“The event was a great success as far as providing the community with entertainment, as far as funds raise for the church, we don’t have those figures yet,” said Joy. “But I think it will definitely help in raising money for the new church.”

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