Camp Luz' Harvest Fest returns to live event Oct. 31

Camp Luz' Harvest Fest returns to live event Oct. 31

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Ask any of the staff at Camp Luz and they will attest to the idea that it is much more enjoyable and beneficial to have face-to-face interaction, whether that is at one of its many summer camps or during its annual auction.

After having to pivot last year to an online auction and much smaller in-person event, Camp Luz is bringing back the Camp Luz Fall Fest Fundraiser this year as it returns to the joyful celebration people have become accustomed to enjoying over the past years.

This year’s event will take place Sunday, Oct. 31 and will feature plenty of fun activities for the kids, opportunities for adults to fellowship, live music, plenty of food and more.

“It will be great to get back to a more normal festival,” said Camp Luz director Andrew Michaels. “While we were able to have the auction online last year, it just wasn’t the same without begin able to interact with people and share our mission in person.”

Activities for Harvest Fest begin at 3 p.m. and include hayrides, a cider press, craft projects, hiking, and canoeing. Dinner will be available from 5-6 p.m. on a donation basis, and includes smoked pulled pork, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, applesauce, and dessert. Popular local band Honeytown will bring its unique blend of instrumentation and vocal harmonies for a concert from 5-6 p.m. A live auction will close out the evening with one-of-a-kind experiences and fresh homemade pies from several talented local bakers. There is a list of auction items available at www.campluz.com.

Most activities, including the dinner, concert, and auction, will be held outdoors, weather permitting. Limited seating will be available, so patrons are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair. All proceeds support the ministry of Camp Luz.

The meal and all the activities are on a donation basis, and Michaels said people should simply give from their heart when attending.

“People can give a little, or give a lot, but what we really hope to do is to have people come and experience what we are doing and what we have envisioned for the future,” Michaels said.

Every year, Camp Luz provides a meaningful and worshipful experience for young campers as they attend one of the many summer camps presented by the camp for children ages 4-to-18, along with a retreat schedule from April through September.

Michaels said that no matter what challenged the camp might face, including dealing with the recent pandemic, the mission remains the same.

“This past year we had 45 campers commit or recommit their lives to serving Christ,” Michaels said. “That is why we do what we do.”

To help provide funds that drive the many programs and the facility, Camp Luz relies on the support of the community to help give the kids everything they need to enjoy their experience and grow in their faith, and this event goes a long way in doing just that.

Michaels has been around Camp Luz since he was a kid, when he attended summer camp there. He then went on to work there on the staff before returning as the director.

He said the changes over the years have been many, with an updated swimming area, more things to do and the addition of air conditioning in the cabins being some of the major changes.

One thing that has remained a constant has been how the camp has touched the lives of the thousands of young people who utilize the camp facilities each year.

“We have seen a more and more diversified group of young people coming to the camp over the past number of years,” Michaels said. “Earlier on we had mostly local, Mennonite kids coming to camp, but that has grown and spread out to more than 50 church affiliations that extends beyond Ohio. It has been exciting to see how God has worked in the lives of those who have come to camps here over the years.”

The evening fundraiser is important because the camp must continue to extend itself in creating fun and inventive ways to give its campers plenty to do and experience. It also serves as a way for Camp Luz to continue to make cap affordable for everyone.

“We need to be able to keep our camp and retreat fees at a reasonable cost for those who want to attend, because we don’t want to deny anyone who feels they can’t afford to come,” Michaels said. “We want to be able to provide an affordable and positive camp for everyone, so this fundraiser becomes a very large part of our ability to do that.”