LIMA — The Family Fun Zone has become an Allen County Fair Standard. The 2012 edition will be the 11th Fun Zone, and it’ll be the best yet, organizers say, combining a safe, family-friendly location with Christian-themed entertainment.
“Being at the Allen County Fair originally was a great way to start as an outreach for our district’s youth ministry,” said Neal Whitney, pastor of the Church at Allentown, a United Methodist congregation that sponsors the Family Fun Zone. “We’re engaging the community in the world for Christ.”
The Fun Zone operates under two tents. The first tent holds the Kids’ Fun Zone, which features a multitude of “make it and take it” crafts, games and activities for children. Games include cornhole, basketball, volleyball and badminton.
The other tent is for musical entertainment and worship.
Events go on continuously from noon to closing, every day of the fair.
Featured acts include Pastor Todd O’Neal, of Cincinnati; Vernon McIntyre’s Appalachian Grass Gospel, of Wapakoneta and Cincinnati; and Lima groups Calvary Chapel praise band and MC Righteous, of Future Church.
“Pastor O’Neal is with us every year. He does Sunday night praise and worship when we do the church service,” said Ian Hayes, a member of the Family Fun Zone organizing committee of the Church at Allentown, which sponsors the event along with the Tom Ahl Family of Dealerships.
New acts include Expendable, a Christian group from Bluffton. There’s likely to be a smattering of other church-affiliated musical groups as well, Hayes said.
The Family Fun Zone also hosts the semifinal and final rounds of The Allen County karaoke competition. The seminfinal will be the first Saturday night of the fair; the final will be the second Saturday night.
“That’s really big this year,” Hayes said. “The local qualifying rounds have been going on for three months. We’ve got forty-some contestants in this thing.”
While the Church at Allentown is the primary church sponsor, many individuals from other congregations and denominations help out, Hayes said.
Family Fun Zone
2012 Allen County Fair