SEBASTIAN – Peals of laughter flitted along the breeze coming off the Indian River Lagoon under the trees at Riverview Park as children tossed rings over Coke bottles and tossed balls at the target of a dunk tank.
A few hundred people from around the Sebastian area came out to the park for the annual Community Block Party put on by Coastal Community Church. Several who attended, though, had no idea the event was even being held. “We just happened to be here,” said Elizabeth Ulibarri, pointing to the waterfront. She said she and her group heard the music and saw the activity and decided to check it out.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s great.”
Ulibarri said she liked that the church was playing non-religious music and called it a new approach to introducing the world to Christianity.
“It’s not about forcing religion down your throat,” she said.
That’s part of the reason Coastal Community Church holds the annual party, according to Pastor Seth Goldsmith – to introduce the greater community to God without being pushy.
The other reason is to simply give back to the community, much as Coastal Community Church did last weekend with its annual gas buy-down at the Shark Mart Mobil gas station.
Joseph and Gabriela Craft are regulars at Riverview Park and also did not know the block party was going on. They decided to stick around, eat some barbecue pulled pork and coleslaw and take the event in.
“This is good,” Joseph Craft said, of the food and the party. “I’m amazed” by the free food and drinks, he added.
Pastor Goldsmith said that he had been fielding phone calls all day leading up to the party from people wondering what the cost was to be admitted to the party.
“They don’t believe it,” he said of telling them that everything is free – free food, free drinks, free games, free parking, free admittance.
The pastor spent more than hour in the dunk tank before letting a pastor-in-training take over. Along with trying their hands at dunking people, attendees tried for prizes by throwing footballs throw suspended tires, tossing darts at balloons and matching little yellow duckies in a “pond.”
The Community Block Party and Gas Buy-Down are part of Coastal Community Church’s Fall Outreach initiative to give back to the community and introduce itself to the area.