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Festival’s mission to show spirit of Christ

Three-year-old Trenton Fletcher casually picked up eggs with his Thomas the Train bucket at the easter egg hunt at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds Saturday.

Three-year-old Trenton Fletcher casually picked up eggs with his Thomas the Train bucket at the easter egg hunt at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds Saturday.

ROME TOWNSHIP — Princess Jasmine leaned over and hugged the two little girls as their mother took a photo of the trio.

The “Aladdin” character also known in real life as Julia Wu, a Fairland High School senior, was one of several fanciful characters who strolled the Lawrence County Fairgrounds as part of this year Easter egg hunt and festival sponsored in part by Sanctuary of Grace Church.

This is the 10th year for the event that Wu has yet to miss.

“I absolutely love this,” she said. “It is amazing and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. It is a great opportunity to celebrate Jesus.”

By midmorning Saturday cars were lining the drive into the fairgrounds or parked on the lawn as festival visitors entered the fair barn that was filled with child-friendly activities and tables giving away hot dogs and drinks.

Amanda Davis was busy painting faces of anyone who wanted to let her get creative.

For 9-year-old Zach Tooley who loves anything to do with basketball Davis drew a small orange disk dressed up with black lines to resemble the grooves in the ball. A quick look in a mirror and Zach was pleased with the results.

Zach always looks forward to the festival because of “all the stuff and you learn about Jesus,” he said

Under the auspices of six churches besides Sanctuary, the event draws thousands each year to the fairgrounds and is made possible by donations of more than 35 businesses and the work of hundreds of volunteers. Other community churches participating were Beulah Baptist, Finley Chapel, First Baptist of Proctorville, Living Grace Bible, New Hope United Methodist and Symmes Creek Missionary Baptist.

Dan Honaker, another Sanctuary of Grace member, played a pirate on Saturday teaching youngsters the proper way to scream out “aargh” as he posed with them for pictures.

“This is an amazing outreach,” Honaker said. “It is a good opportunity to serve and maybe feed someone who might be hungry and let the love of Christ show. A lot of people have had a bad experience with church and think all churches are competitive. But it is all about Christ.”