The annual Country Fair sponsored by the Faith Lutheran Church in Pierre is always filled with a steady bustling of people from opening to closing. This year’s event was Saturday, Oct. 5.
The fair was started over 30 years, according to Kristy Deal, the head coordinator for this year’s event. She has been at the head of a growing group of volunteers for about five years now.
“It started out small, in a small room in the old section of the church,” said Deal. “and now it has grown into this!” ‘This’ is a gymnasium that is almost constantly a friendly elbow-to-elbow of people. Area residents and guests are there to chat, browse, chat, smile, choose, chat, and finally pay for their purchases on their way out. The tables and chairs were constantly full with a continuing rotation of people carrying bowls of soup, plates of sides, and, of course, desserts. The desserts are mostly homemade pies, to go along with the homemade soups and chili..
Deal said the Country Fair is not a new idea. Decades ago, it used to be a common occurrence at varying times, usually on different days during the fall, of many of the local churches. They worked together to try the best they could to not schedule on the same days as other churches. Over the decades, the many country fairs have grown fewer, and smaller. Some other churches still hold a country fair during the fall, but “We are the only church to still do the really big country fair,” said Deal.
All the for-sale items — honey, jellies, fresh garden items such as pumpkins, other foods, crafts, candies and many more categories of items — are donated by mostly church members.
The funds raised go to national, state, local and in-house destinations. The Lutheran Women in Mission League decides each year the non-profit destinations for the national, state and location categories. This year the national was the Food Co-op Food Pantry for students in Seminary Mission Central under Pastor Brent Smith in Mapleton, Iowa. The two state efforts this year is a medical mission trip to Guatamala by the Faith Lutheral Church in Sioux Falls and the Higher Things Convention for the South Dakota District. The two local goals are the St. Benedict Guest House — Countryside Support and the Memory Center for hotel vouchers for hardship needs.
This year, the in-house projects that will receive some funds from the Country Fair include:
Faith Lutheran Preschool and Daycare, Lutherans For Life, Lutheran youth fellowship scholarships for the Higher Things convention, welcome banners and stands for Narthex and toward the Faith Lutheran mission trips.