Cross Tracks Church hosts Harvest Festival


By Dana Delgado

In a throwback to simpler times, Cross Tracks Church is hosting its annual Harvest Festival Oct. 20 on the picturesque and historic grounds of Liberty Hill’s oldest continuous operating church at 101 Church Street.

The Festival started in October 2000 as a fundraiser for the church and as a way to re-introduce the Methodist Church to the community, recalls church member Glenda Soto.

“It was a very small event on the church grounds, with church members setting up‘ booths (generally card tables) and selling such things as beans and cornbread, chili, tacos, etc., plus all manner of homemade wares,” said Soto.  “Other members organized games and other activities for the children.  The most entertaining event was always the cake walk and the most exciting event was the live auction.”

Soto said that the festival was merged in 2004 into the church sesquicentennial event, and was much larger. 

“A name change ensued and the festival became ‘Lord’s Acre,’ an event started as a church fundraiser in Georgia in 1922 when each farmer in a particular congregation was asked to set aside an acre of farmland for the Lord, donating the proceeds from that acre of land to the church,” she said.  “As the event continued year after year, Harvest Festival was born and taken over by the United Methodist Ladies.”

Over the years, new activities were added including a four-car train built and donated by a church member. Some of those activities have survived, others have not, and yet others have been added. 

This year’s autumn festival continues its tradition of staging old-fashioned fun activities along with nearly 50 unique vendors and a host of food choices and live music. Festivities run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There is no admission charge for the family-friendly event and children are encouraged to wear their costumes.

“Our purpose is to promote community,” said Deanne Vance, publicity chair for the Harvest Festival. “We really want the community to come together for fellowship and fun.”

A full slate of activities sure to bring out the child in everyone is scheduled throughout the day. Some of the time honored games include gone fishing, bean bag toss, football/basketball toss, apple bobbing, sack race, and the ever popular pie eating contest. Other activities include hat making, cookie decorating, fossil digging, pick a duck, fish cups, crazy hats, egg on a spoon, and face painting among others. A bouncy house is also planned along with a Halloween Fun House filled with some surprises including fog machines, black lights and gooey things.

“We’re excited about this day of fun for families in the whole community,” said Vance.

A pumpkin patch with an abundant supply of pumpkins will be available for sale and provide a striking backdrop for photo opportunities.

Also being featured this year is a petting zoo being provided by Fannie’s Farm Friends. Animals include bunnies, Giant Flemish rabbits, small exotic chickens, ducklings, sheep, Fainting Goat kids and of course, ponies. 

Setting the festive mood during the day will be a variety of musicians including John Saint, new pastor at Cross Tracks who was a member of a bluegrass band in his former community of San Saba.

Among the individual musicians are Orlando Garza, Debbie Morgan, Stephanie Grubbs, Glenda Soto, and Samantha Bell. Other performers include the Cross Tracks Church Choir, Bells, Praise Band and Hearts of Praise. Music will include a variety of Gospel, Hymns, Country, original songs, oldies, etc.  

A variety of vendors including one from as far away as Benavidez, will be showcasing their crafts and wares. Available items for sale include totes, wallets, jewelry, herbal products, and a host of other novelties.

According to organizers, one can find it all, shop for the holidays, or at least have fun looking. Hope House, Operation Liberty Hill, and Project Graduation will have a festival booth to promote their non-profit organizations.

In addition, a variety of door prizes donated by area businesses will be awarded. Prizes include gift certificates to select area restaurants, dog grooming, a gift basket of Pure Bliss lotions, soaps, and candles, a gift certificate for one free eye exam, and gift bags.