A photo from last year's Fall-a-Palooza, courtesy of Metro Community Church on Facebook.

EDWARDSVILLE - Metro Community Church promises a “fall explosion” at their second annual Fall-a-Palooza this weekend.

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From noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, families can stop by the Metro Edwardsville campus for an afternoon of bounce houses, hayrides, games, food trucks and more fall-themed fun. Lead pastor Seth Conerly explained that the event is a chance to connect with the community and enjoy the beginning of the autumn season.

“We just had the mindset of, ‘Hey, let’s not try to reinvent the wheel here. Let’s just do everything fall you can think of and just it be a fall explosion,’” he said.

He joked that it will be similar to Leslie Knope’s Harvest Festival in the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” complete with “everything but Li’l Sebastian.” But in that vein, you can check out the petting zoo and enjoy kid-friendly donkey rides.

Master bakers can sign up for the cookie and brownie baking contest. Master eaters can stop by the Taco Shack, Wayno’s STL, Five Aces BBQ and Da GOAT Grill food trucks. The church’s small groups will operate different booths with face painting, s’mores, cornhole and more games. Attendees are also encouraged to wear their best flannels at the church’s weekend services and the Fall-a-Palooza for a flannel contest.

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“Flannel it up,” Conerly laughed, adding that he appreciates the work of the church community and festival organizers. “It’s definitely a team effort across the board. Our team leans into it real hard and does a great job with it. They take these types of things in stride and just dial it up every time.”

This is part of why Conerly enjoys being a part of the Metro Community Church. He described the church as a “come-as-you-are environment,” with campuses in Edwardsville and Vandalia as well as regular online streaming services.

“We want to be a place where people can come in and really just have an experience with God, just kind of a Heaven meets Earth moment,” Conerly said. “We know that if that happens, it not only changes people, but it’s a catalyst for them being involved, finding community, continuing to engage and experience God in new ways. We believe that’s tied to so many parts of our lives when it comes to our heart’s passions. It shouldn’t be something that’s this apathetic faith and relational part of who we are; it should be at the forefront of every part of who we are and should be the driving and passionate force.”

He added that Fall-a-Palooza is a good opportunity for people to check out what the church has to offer and decide if it might be a good fit for their families. But Conerly emphasized that the event is meant to be a fun fall day, whether you are involved in Metro Community Church or not. He hopes to see a big crowd.

“We certainly want to make sure that that extended invitation is out to those who don’t feel like they have a church home anywhere,” he explained. “I’ve just met so many genuine folks who love each other, love Jesus, want to do life together and want to do it well.”

Fall-a-Palooza runs from noon to 2 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the Metro Edwardsville campus, located at 3551 Ridge View Road. For more details about the Metro Edwardsville Fall-a-Palooza, visit the official webpage. Check out Metro Community Church’s official website at MetroCommunityChurch.com for information about services, ministries and future events.

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