ST. PETERSBURG — Who says you have to dress up like a Ghoul or Goblin to have fun on Halloween! That surely was not the case, for the most part, at the Oktoberfest held on the baseball diamond outside of the Thomas “Jett” Jackson Recreation Center last Saturday night.
The annual event was hosted by Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church who partnered with the City of St. Petersburg to create a night of fun, frolic, games, edible treats and family memories.
Youth Minister Shaun Thomas and the Mt. Zion staff greeted the myriads of trick-or-treaters who showed up to the event.
“Last year we had over 1,500 people come out to the event, but this year it looks like we’ve exceeded that number,” said Thomas.
The baseball diamond was packed with room to spare as youngsters of all ages paused for pictures, got their faces painted or waited in the long line that wrapped half way around the field. The festive event started several years ago on the grounds of Mt. Zion Progressive, but it expanded to encompass more of the community when it partnered with the city’s recreation department.
“The purpose of having this event is for us to get out into the community,” said Thomas.
In actuality, the festival has a two-fold purpose, according to Thomas.
“The gospel is not just spiritual, but it is also social,” he explained. “So we come out here and we have fun activities and candy in a very safe, controlled environment. The kids are safe, and we’re taking the love of Jesus to them.”
The Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority of St. Petersburg were on hand for face painting and handing out goodies to the kids young and old.
The sounds of laughter could be heard a half block away as south St. Pete flashed a kaleidoscopic glow of harmony and community spirit.