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United Methodist invites community to a festival

The Community Outreach Program of the United Methodist Church is doing what its name suggests it does - reaching out with an invitation to the Hastings community to participate in UMC's second community festival Sunday to Thursday, Aug. 2 to 6.

The week includes a festival at nearby Pioneer Park, a children's program, musical entertainment, a musician/ juggler (returns from last year), and a presentation of the movie, "Cars."

"This is the same event as last year," committee chair Nyki Biegel said. We plan to do it every year. We're doing this as a fun event for the community.

"We're trying to reach the 'unchurched,' and this is an easy way to invite friends and family to a church setting."

The week kicks off with a community festival from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, at Pioneer Park. The event includes games and food, crazy hairdos, face painting, a giant blow-up slide, a caterpillar to run through, and a jumper.

The festival will include a pet blessing from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Attendees are invited to bring any pets, large or small, and church pastor, the Rev. Chris Kneen, will bless them. Each pet and owner will receive a matching cross and a picture.

Nicol Sponberg, pop/ rhythm and blues solo artist, highlights the 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, show at the church, 615 W. 15th St.

Sponberg is one third of the contemporary praise trio Selah, but comes to Hastings as a solo act. Sponberg's solo album, "Resurrection," was two years in the making. She co-wrote half of the album's 10 songs. One of the selections is "Jacob's Well," a metaphorical look at the renewal found in Jesus Christ at those times in the wilderness everyone has experienced.

Jason Huneke, comedian/ juggler, is back for the second year at the festival. His show is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4. Originally from Zumbrota, Minn., his first performance was at age 13. Since then, he has become a national performer and has presented family entertainment at more than 400 corporate events, festivals, schools and fairs throughout the United States.

"What makes my show stand out from others is my ability to connect with people," Huneke said. "The audience will find it easy to relate to me no matter what their age or background."

His 45-minute show is a mix of juggling, unicycling, balancing and manipulation, geared toward each audience.

The Nana Puddin' Production brings its family entertainment to the church Wednesday, Aug. 5. Since 1991, the company has been bringing fun and inspiration to audiences across America. It is dedicated to making people laugh, learn and love, all at the same time.

The movie, "Cars," will be presented at dusk Thursday, Aug. 6, at Pioneer Park. Popcorn and cotton candy will be served.

All festival events are free. For more information, call 437-4398.