“Neighbors” and “community” are oft repeated buzz words heard at planning meetings for the 5th Annual VOC Community Potluck in the Park.
The event is designed to bring the community together to connect as next-door neighbors, introduce people to each other, laugh and enjoy life together, celebrate who we are, build community ... and everyone in the Village is invited.
While the event is truly a community effort, the Village of Oak Creek Church of the Nazarene (VocNaz) has facilitated, planned and implemented it the past four years.
Pastor Jim Cunningham from VocNaz said, “Last year we invested well over 250 man hours to prepare for the event. But it took a Village to make it successful. Over 60 businesses, organizations and individuals donated money, food and prizes. Locals talked about it and invited their friends and neighbors. Most importantly, people showed up...and they brought food!”
VocNaz provides the planning and organization, much of the labor and some of the food. The burgers, dogs, veggie-burgers, buns, condiments, chips and water are provided by area businesses. The community is asked to bring a salad, a side dish or desert.
Pastor Jim’s passion for this event is evident. When he speaks about it his face lights up and his hands wave around more than usual, “We believe we were created with a need for others, for relationships, for community. The Annual Potluck in the Park is one of the many annual events we facilitate to help people connect.”
The event will have bouncy houses, slides, face-painting for the kids, and games for adults and kids.
The Annual VOC Community Potluck in the Park uses an Americana theme, focusing on traditional family fun like a pie-eating contest (for all age groups), sack races, a three-legged race, a dance contest and more.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department brings deputies, including Deputy Do Right; the National Forest Service brings Smokey Bear and handouts for the kids; Sedona Fire represents with firefighters and equipment. Live musicians will perform and play for the dance contest. Last year, local businesses donated 78 prizes to be given away, 18 of which were given as door prizes!
Pastor Jim said that they receive positive feedback for several months after each Community Potluck in the Park.
“One of the most common things we hear is, ‘Are you going to do more than just one Potluck a year? I really don’t want to wait a whole year for another one.’”
He went on to say, “I met people last year who are now friends and continue to socialize. I’m aware of others who say the same. It’s so satisfying to know the event accomplishes its intended purpose, building community.”
The 5th Annual VOC Community Potluck in the Park, takes place from 2:30-6:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 17, at Kiwanis Park, 690 Bell Rock Blvd., next to the VOCA Clubhouse.
If you are available to help with planning, set up, clean up, want to donate, or are just looking for additional details, go to VOCNAZ.ORG or call Pastor Jim at (928) 284-0015.