Mt. Zion’s OktoberFest brings community joy and unity


ST. PETERSBURG –People of all ages, from all walks of life and backgrounds came together to enjoy Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church’s annual OktoberFest held on the baseball diamond outside of the Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center Oct 31.

“It’s looking like we may have exceeded last year’s turnout by close to 300,” said Youth Pastor Shawn Thomas, who’s looking forward to the next committee meeting to get the exact numbers.

“I’m just eternally grateful in our efforts to progress and reach out to the community and provide an alternative to Halloween to make it more of a festival the way it was originally meant to be,” said Rev. Louis M. Murphy, Sr., Mt. Zion’s senior pastor.

Sponsored in part by the City of St. Petersburg, it turned out to be a fun filled night of community celebration, games, edible treats, friendly conversation, dancing and family memories.

Oktoberfest '16, featured“The purpose of having this event is for us to get out into the community and share the love of Jesus in a fun way,” said Thomas.

For nearly a decade and a half, OktoberFest has been going strong.  Starting out on the church grounds, the event has grown so large that it had to be moved to a recreation center. Murphy said that Thomas has taken the festival to an entirely higher level.

Both pastors along with a group of congregation members greeted the crowds who streamed in. The Greeks were out in full force. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority provided activities and treats for all the young people and the young at heart.

There were so many people at the event that the baseball diamond practically disappeared as throngs of children moved from one activity to another. The smell and smoke of hotdogs, hamburgers and ribs rose high into the night sky, sometimes appearing like clouds in front of the bright beaming field lights.

A good time was had by all.

To reach Allen Buchanan, email

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