On a mission: Vallonia churches benefit from Fort Vallonia Days booths


A sign outside the entrance to the Vallonia Gym promised “plenty of good home cooking.”

Inside the gym, people went through the cafeteria line, first choosing a hot dog, a coney dog, a ham sandwich or a western. Then they could pick up a bowl of chili or vegetable soup. Lastly, they were tempted with a piece of homemade pie or cake.

For all 48 years of Fort Vallonia Days, conducted the third weekend of October in Jackson County’s oldest community, Vallonia Christian Church’s food stand has been a popular attraction.

“We have the same thing every year, and I think it’s just stuff that people don’t typically get,” said Jay Grider, a church member who oversees the nearly 30 people who work at the food stand.

“It’s not the carnival food. Everything is homemade,” he said.

Plus, people know they are helping a good cause. The church uses half of the nearly $3,500 it raises to fund mission projects, while the other half will go toward a new air conditioning unit for the church.

“There are several missions we support,” Grider said. “Those are local, too. Hoosier Christian Village is a big one, and Hilltop Christian Camp.”

All of the food is donated by church members. Chili, vegetable soup and homemade pies are the big sellers, Grider said.

Even though the festival is Saturday and Sunday, the church’s food stand is only open Saturday.

“I like spending time with everybody else,” Grider said. “We don’t have a lot of group things that we do together, so it gives us a chance to interact with everybody.”

Another Vallonia congregation, Driftwood Christian Church, is selling food during the annual festival.

While this is only the church’s third year with a booth, its hot dogs, beans and cornbread have been strong sellers. The booth will be open Sunday — the last day of the festival.

Read the full story in Monday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.

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