Sounds of Bob Marley filled the air as Dave Tobiasz smiled and rendered his judgment on the success of Marco Lutheran Church’s inaugural Community Fun Day.
“Things have gone great,” said Tobiasz, who chaired the committee that organized the recent event, which featured live music, food, games for children and adults, a raffle, an introduction to the N. Collier Boulevard church’s people and programs, and more.
“We’ve had a beautiful day and we have a lot of people that we’ve met that we didn’t know before. The kids have come and played, bingo was a big hit with the older folks and a lot of people came and visited our intro to yoga demonstration. The fire department was here with a fire truck and it’s always exciting when the fire department comes out and is supportive of the community. We’ve had some really good island-type music and our choir came out and sang. It’s just been one beautiful day.”
The committee realized its hope of attracting about 100 people who don’t attend Marco Lutheran to the festival, held on the church’s front lawn, from 11 AM to 3 PM, in the shadows of the Herbert R. Savage Bridge. The goal, said Tobiasz, was to raise the church’s profile in hopes of boosting attendance and participation in its slate of programs.
“A lot of people say they’ve seen the (church’s roadside electronic) sign, so it was come and meet the people behind it and see what we’re like,” he said. “People were asking, ‘How much does it cost,’ and we said ‘it’s free.’ This was kind of our gift to the island for end of the season. It went over really well.”
Denny and Kathy Eckels of Marco came away impressed. They are active in another church, but like to visit and support other congregations, and they definitely plan to attend performances in the church’s musical artist series.
“It was very nice,” said Denny Eckels. The food was good, everyone was friendly, the music was entertaining. I thought it was very nice. I hope they do it every year.”
Renee Pozzuto and her daughter Isabella, 8, were driving by when they noticed the festival and decided to stop by and see what it was about. They were glad they did.
“It looked like it would be something fun to do on a nice day,” said Renee Pozzuto. “I think it’s really nice, it’s fun, it’s interactive. I was really interested in the gentle yoga. The crafts are really cute, free food, free activities; can’t go wrong.”
Isabella was more succinct in her description: “It’s really cool and I like it,” she said before shyly turning away, which elicited a chuckle from her mother.
Marco Lutheran’s front lawn was transformed into a makeshift festival site, with a small stage where the musician Trace and the church’s choir, led by its music director, Craig Greusel, took turns performing. There was a covered table for bingo and others where information on the church’s programs was available. Demonstration of chair yoga and gentle yoga were led by Kathy Vanderselt, who conducts classes in those exercises.
Like Tobiasz, she was heartened by the turn-out and predicted the festival will help to bring more new faces to Marco Lutheran.
“This is a wonderful (church) community and they’re strong in their commitment to building this community up even more,” said Vanderselt. “I think this was a wonderful outreach to the community and I think it went very well.”
Marco Lutheran Church is located at 525 N. Collier Boulevard. For more information, visit marcolutheran.org/.