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Churches hold fall festivals

Smyrna Presbyterian Church volunteers, from left, Paul George and Gary Mooneyhan prepare barbecue for the church's Harvest Jubilee.

Smyrna Presbyterian Church volunteers, from left, Paul George and Gary Mooneyhan prepare barbecue for the church's Harvest Jubilee.

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The Scarecrows and Casseroles Fall Festival at Heritage Hills Baptist Church features free children's activities, including inflatables.

Falling leaves and fall festivals are in the air this weekend as two local church festivals offer food, fun and family entertainment Saturday in Conyers.

This will be the 20th year for the Harvest Jubilee hosted by Smyrna Presbyterian Church at 2920 Ga. Highway 212 and just across the street at 2987 Ga. Highway 212 Heritage Hills Baptist Church will hold its second annual Scarecrows and Casseroles Fall Festival.

Admission is free to both events and everyone in the community is invited to come out and enjoy a time of celebration and fellowship.

"Our neighbor church is having an event on the same day and it's a great advantage for both of us," Smyrna Presbyterian's Harvest Jubilee organizer Linda George said. "I feel like when people come to the area, they will come to both events."

The Harvest Jubilee will begin at 9 a.m., rain or shine, and conclude at 3 p.m. The event is a home mission project for the church and includes a church-wide yard sale, arts and crafts, a bake sale, books, plants, a car show, a children's yard sale, the Holiday House, children's activities, a linen closet, a quilt corner, a clothes closet, a dunking booth, tropical shaved ice treats and food of all kinds.

Proceeds from the day go to the Tina George Carter Medical Benevolence Fund, a fund set up 20 years ago to assist George's niece, Tina, during her fight with breast and liver cancer. The disease claimed her life, but her desire to help others lives on through the work of the benevolence fund.

She asked that any money not used to assist her be used to help others experiencing financial difficulties due to medical expenses. Since that time, many Smyrna families have benefited from the fund named in Tina's honor.

The fund is managed by the active mission and benevolence elders at the church. Last year was a record-breaking year as the 2011 Jubilee raised $19,663, for the fund.

The festival is a churchwide effort with church members of all ages taking part in the day-long event, George said, adding that 20 years later, Tina's family and church are still working together to help those in need.

"It keeps her memory alive and strong," George said.

Festival-goers will be able to enjoy a range of foods thanks to Brian McWilliams and Tommy George along with a team of volunteers who will be serving barbecue and other foods at the food court. Tina's great aunt, Annie Ruth Housworth, who has had some health problems and is now living in an assisted living home, along with her daughter who has come down from Virginia, are baking cakes for the sale this year, including Housworth's famous coconut cake, George said.

Other foods offered at the Harvest Jubilee this year include pork barbecue, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken on the grills, crawfish etouffee, chicken wings, fries, onion rings, Vietnamese egg rolls, fried rice and cabbage salad (courtesy of the Vietnamese congregation), fried pickles, fried Oreos and homemade apple and peach cobblers.

The Red Cross Bloodmobile will also be on hand at the festival.

This will be the second year for Scarecrows and Casseroles Fall Festival, which kicks off at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.

"We want to show the community we care," Debi Lovall, festival organizer. "We want to reach out to give back and for the community to get to know who we are and what we offer."

Scarecrows and Casseroles will feature a dunk tank, inflatables, free games, free lunch of homemade casseroles and desserts, Miss Tea Cup Clown balloon animals, a hay ride and entertainment by the Tommy Murray Quartet and Creekside Bluegrass, as well as cloggers. All activities and food are free at the festival.

Also on the schedule is a classic car show, a fire truck, an ambulance, a police car, door prizes, bingo for books, a petting zoo, a pie contest, a prayer booth, a quilt display, crafts for children, hair painting, tattoos, face painting, snowcones, cotton candy and popcorn.