The Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe was bustling with activity on Aug. 6 as The FEST returned for its 17th year.
This year’s theme, “A Full Life,” was entwined in the day’s activities. The free, daylong event drew tens of thousands of all ages to the 43-acre CPL grounds.
Live music, including popular Christian performers Laura’s Story, Matt Maher, Crowder and headliner for King and Country, entertained the huge crowd.
Faith-based, educational, nonprofit and community groups as well as area businesses offered giveaways and information. FEST attendees also could purchase FEST gear, including T-shirts.
There was a large area filled with activities for children ranging from craft stations, a petting zoo, inflatables and a BMX demonstration. Stilt-walkers, face painting, balloon characters also delighted youngsters. And the youngest attendees had a special, enclosed area all their own with age-appropriate activities based on biblical themes. For example, children could play the Noah’s Ark Letter Match game, pose for photos in a wooden pope cutout, visit the Garden of Eden, travel through the desert (sandbox) and see the 10 Commandments or visit the walls of Jericho and build with toy bricks and blocks.
The Marc’s Moms’ Relaxation Station offered gift bags with dozens of free items for moms, as well as a chance for them to get a manicure and a massage. Nearby was the Man Cave, where dads could play games and get some tips on how to be strong men of faith for their families.
There also was a huge welcome card that FEST visitors were invited to sign with a message for Bishop-designate Nelson Perez, who will be installed as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland on Sept. 5.
A variety of food, including fresh fruit, brats, burgers, snow cones and ice cream was available.
Attendees could pray the rosary every hour at the rosary tent, spend some time in quiet prayer in the prayer labyrinth, go to reconciliation, receive a blessing, attend adoration, speak with members of the clergy and religious orders to learn about vocations and more.
The only blemish on the day was a short rainstorm just before Mass began. The huge, outdoor Mass is always the focal point of The FEST. It featured a choir composed of singers from across the diocese and many concelebrating priests.
The FEST’s grand finale was the traditional fireworks show after Mass.
Mark your calendar for next year’s FEST: Sunday, Aug. 5 at the CPL.
For information, to volunteer for next year’s FEST or to see photos from previous events, visit theFEST.us.