WellsFest to benefit Emergency Shelter for Children


Special to the Advocate

The Emergency Shelter for Children, a ministry of Christians in Action, will be the beneficiary of the 23rd annual WellsFest.


The event is scheduled for Sept. 30 at Jamie Fowler Boyll Park, next to Smith-Wills Stadium on Lakeland Drive in Jackson.


Since 1977, the shelter has provided residential care for children age birth through12 years. Since its existence, the shelter has cared for more than 3,500 children referred from the Youth Court, the Department of Human Services and the Jackson Police Department. 

WellsFest will spotlight the 80th year in ministry of Wells Memorial UMC on Bailey Avenue. The festival features nonstop music, food, drinks, arts and crafts shopping and a variety of children’s activities in a family-oriented, alcohol- and drug-free atmosphere.


“We have come to perceive WellsFest as a gift of love to the Jackson community and to those charitable non-profit organizations who benefit as recipients of its proceeds,” said the Rev. Keith Tonkel, Wells Memorial UMC pastor since 1969. “It is a day for families to get together and have a nice day for not a lot of cost.”


The festivities begin with an 8 a.m. 5-kilometer run and walk followed by a one-mile fun run, both directed by the Mississippi Track Club/Bike Rack and door prizes by Fleet Feet. Race pre-registration is available at www.mstrackclub.com until Sept.  23. Cost is $12 for individuals or $32 per family (maximum of three) and all participants get a WellsFest T-shirt with the race packet. 


The festival and live music will kick off at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. with local musicians playing Christian, folk, rock, acoustic alternative, country, jazz, rhythm and blues and soul.


Pony rides, face painting, games, rock climbing wall and other activities will be available for 25 cents in the children’s area. Carnival-type and health foods will be sold.


The 1 p.m. live art auction will feature an original acrylic of the Wells Church stained glass and wood pews by local artist Ron Lindsey, to commemorate the church’s 80th anniversary celebration held June 4. Signed and numbered prints of the painting will also be available at the silent auction. The art auction also will offer an antique ceramic plate donated by Ruth and Charles Gunn on behalf of the Old Wells Group made by the Wells Women’s Missionary Society in the early 1960s.


Admission and parking are free. Net proceeds go directly to The Emergency Shelter for Children. Go to www.wellschurch.org for information.