Ascension Lutheran holding free-admission Oktoberfest

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In the spirit of faith, the congregation of Ascension Lutheran Church is holding a community festival Saturday where everything is free.

“The point of our faith is that salvation is free,” said Pastor Zach Harris. “That is what we wanted to do with this event. It is a free gift to the community with no strings attached.”

Oktoberfest will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at the 2512 Nash St. N. church with free food, activities for all ages and more.

“We’ve started planning this in January and have met every Monday as it has gotten closer and every time, Oktoberfest has gotten bigger. One person said ‘How about some bounce houses?’ Another talked about pony rides and the petting zoo. Another wanted to add face painting,” Harris said. “We’ll have it all. The state fair is going on, but if you can’t afford to go to that, this will be kind of like the state fair.”

In keeping with the German tradition of Oktoberfest, Brewmasters will be serving beer at the event for donations to Hurricane Disaster Relief.

Harris said there is no expectation of donations for the activities but donations will be collected for the disaster relief group, which is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to provide aid for hurricane victims of all faiths.

“We wanted to do this as a gift without expecting anything in return. We thought we should put out donation buckets because people might want to donate, but no one felt right about it,” Harris said of deciding to pass all donations to hurricane victims. “When we came up with the idea to give it all to disaster relief, we liked it because it is still a free gift to the community, but if people want to respond by paying it forward, they can do that.”

From 4 to 5 p.m., Harris will have an open forum in the sanctuary of the church to answer questions and have a dialogue about the Lutheran faith.

Current forecasts for Saturday look optimistic and Harris said no rain date has been set.

“This has been a God thing the whole way with him pulling everything together and we’re going to trust him to provide gorgeous weather for the event,” he said.

For more information, visit http://alcwilson.org/.