Toano church's Fall Festival raises money for local charities

rarriaza@vagazette.com

Rainy weather couldn’t stop Hickory Neck Episcopal Church’s 18th annual Fall Festival Oct. 20.

Area residents and members of the church’s 450-person congregation said they couldn’t miss the event rain or shine.

“I come every year,” said Toano resident Peggy Krapf. “it’s just a wonderful local event that I just try not to miss.”

Event-goers enjoyed a bake sale, silent auction and a garage sale-style area called the Attic Treasures. Local food trucks Two Drummers Offbeat Eats and FoodaTude were also there, along with Williamsburg-based Uncle Dave’s Kettle Korn.

Fall Festival chairman David Hartsough estimated the event drew in around 400 attendees, about half of what they would see on a day with nicer weather. The festival is one the church’s biggest annual events, bringing together members of the community and donating the proceeds to support charitable causes.

Proceeds from the festival will go towards local nonprofit groups including Angels of Mercy Medical Clinic, Avalon, the Greater Williamsburg Outreach Mission, Salvation Army Transitional Housing and Williamsburg Area Faith in Action.

The whole church comes together for the annual festival, members said.

“It really takes 100 percent participation from the church, it needs a lot of work,” said church member Mary Teale, who manned the festival bake sale. “I’ve been here 15 years, and every year we do the Fall Festival.”

Church members have organized the Fall Festival for 18 years, member Bill Teale said, and the event has raised $158,705 for local charities since 2002.

Teale said the event started as a simple yard sale, but has grown to a festival that takes more than 100 church members to put together and raises between $10,000 and $15,000 each year.

“The goal, really, is to get our parishioners to work well with one another and to get to know each other,” he said. “Number two is to have a little bit of fun, and the main goal is to raise money for local charities and to get to be among the community.”

Jennie McCray, one of the organizers of the Attic Treasures sale, said she’s been putting the garage-style sale together for 25 years.

“We look forward to it every year, it’s a wonderful fellowship opportunity,” McCray said. “(Church members) come every year, I have people that say they’ve been coming every year since we started, so it’s really worthwhile, and we really enjoy it.”

Church member Laura Ross said she’s been going to the Fall Festival for five years, and that the highlight each year is the Attic Treasures.

“I think that the whole community, even if they’re Episcopalian or a member of our church, can feel like this is going to help people in our community and not just this building,” she said. “It helps everyone without regard to church membership.”

For more information about Hickory Neck Episcopal Church, visit hickoryneck.org.

Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.

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