Rockaway families trunk-or-treat at church festival

Rockaway Rotary Club teams up with First Assembly of God

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Posted: Friday, November 7, 2014 2:00 am |Updated: 5:44 am, Fri Nov 7, 2014.

ROCKAWAY - The parking lot of the First Assembly of God Church filled with children in costume for the church’s annual Halloween Festival Friday, Oct. 31.

The festival has been held for about 15 years. One thing that was different this year was the involvement of the Rockaway Rotary Club.

In the past, the Rotary Club held its own Halloween parade in the center of town.

But due to budget problems, the Rotary Club teamed up with the First Assembly of God Church to focus primarily on the Halloween festival, which had previously been the destination of marchers in the Halloween Parade.

“It’s a great event because we’re giving back to the community, which is always the Rotary’s mission,” said Rotary Club President Janice Christensen, who dressed up as a witch and gave out popcorn and candy.

“For the kids, the festival gives them a safer alternative instead of trick-or-treating door to door,” she said.

Aside from the candy and popcorn, another church parking lot was used to set up multiple bouncy houses. Other attractions included face painting, slides, obstacle courses, and cupcakes. The local fire and police departments brought their vehicles for the kids to sit in and explore.

“This is a great outreach to the community and a safe haven for the kids to get candy,” said Mary Ann Fortner of Rockaway Borough, who works as a administrative assistant for the church.

Festival visitors couldn’t get enough of it.

“I like how people have things set up free of charge,” said former borough resident Michael Nedo, who came from Staten Island with his wife Lenore, one-year-old son Michael Jr., sister Heather, and five-year-old nephew P.J.

“It’s good for a lot of families because it has that small-town feel where you feel welcome. Everyone’s real nice and the kids love trick-or-treating and the bouncy houses,” said Nedo.

The festival continued late into the evening, but the holiday celebration didn’t end there. Kids and families returned to their neighborhoods to do more trick-or-treating.