Ad-Free Expo Draws Community to Bridges Covenant

Post a Comment » Written on August 19th, 2008     
Filed under: News
TAVARES, FL (August 19, 2008) – When Bridges Covenant Church invited local businesses to help sponsor its recent Family Fun Expo, the invitation included a caveat: businesses could not advertise at their booths, and each one had to offer a fun activity to participants.

Pastor Mark Andrews stipulated that each sponsor do no more than post a sign identifying itself. Still, the church had no problem attracting vendors. Businesses included the Central Florida Zoo, an auto dealership, a chiropractor, and an insurance agency. Home Depot was a major contributor, Andrews says.

The church held itself to the same standard as its sponsors: it did no advertising either. “If visitors see what we have, they’ll know we’re a different kind of church,” Andrews explains. He adds, “This was supposed to be for the community.”

And the residents responded. Up to 600 people attended the event, which began at 10 a.m. People were already lining up outside the door by 9:45.

They were treated to games, animals, and plenty of pizza, hot dogs, cookies, cotton candy, and drinks. All of it was free. To see photos from this event, visit Family Fun Fest.

“We were determined that no one was going to have to spend a penny,” Andrews says.

The vendors actually appreciated the prohibition against advertising, Andrews says. “They were so excited they could just come and meet people.”

Nearly all the vendors encouraged the church to have the event again. Some even offered to help defray the costs, Andrews says.

This was the third such event the church has sponsored. Lisa Johnson, one of the first people to attend services at Bridges, organized an expo on Mother’s Day. The event was a huge success, attracting 250 people, Andrews says.

An expo for men followed but did not attract as many people. Johnson was undeterred, however, and worked zealously to put on the family event. “She was amazing,” says Andrews.

For a previous story on the church, see Motorcycles.

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