MASSENA — After a year that featured a drive-through version of “Love Massena Day” in 2020, New Testament Church is bringing back the full celebration in July.
“We’re going to be bigger than ever,” said Joshua White, one of the volunteers who’s helping Jason Sweet put the July 17 event together. It will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Alcoa Park.
He said they met with village officials and got the thumbs up to proceed.
“We were trying to figure out, should we do something smaller? What should we do?” Mr. White said.
The answer —”We’re going for it. At this point, we’re pretty much going to be doing everything we’ve done in the past,” he said.
That would include water slides, bouncy houses, cotton candy, popcorn, coffee, hot dogs, a basketball tournament, face painting, music, balloon animals, interactive games and more, all free.
“So pretty much everything we’ve done in the past and we’re adding a few things. We’re just very excited about this year. With COVID shutting everything down last year, it seems like there’s a hunger to get out and do something,” Mr. White said.
A 5K race will also be held starting at New Testament Church, 265 Andrews St. Registration is at 10:30 a.m., the run starts at 11. and finishes at Alcoa Park. The cost is $20 and all money raised is earmarked for St. Peter’s Outreach Ministry. Registration forms can be found at ntcmassena.com.
St. Peter’s Outreach Ministry, formerly St. Vincent de Paul, works to provide affordable clothing and furniture to the community as well as doing regular food handouts and offering a food pantry.
“They do some awesome work,” Mr. White said.
The first Love Massena event was held in 2013, and it featured everything from music to food, face painting to balloon creations, and basketball to tennis. The event was coordinated by Compassion North in cooperation with the Greater Massena Ministerial Association and has continued to grow over the years.
The first event was meant to do something positive in an area that at the time had seen crime ranging from an attempted abduction to drug trafficking.
“We know there are incredible people there. We decided we wanted to hold it there to kind of raise some joy in that community especially. The turnout every year has been incredible,” Mr. White said.
The event has remained free, with activities taking place in the area around Alcoa Park. He said the community comes together, as do businesses that donate for the event and churches.
“It’s a place where people can go and have some fun, and just really enjoy the great things Massena has to offer,” he said. “It’s great to see the community come together again for this.”