Since the 1950s, Center Grove Church has held a fall festival known today as Harvest at Center Grove. Seventy years ago, it began as a small Halloween alternative for church members. It has since grown into a region-wide event for nearly 5,000 people each October, and today, Harvest has become, for many families in the Winston-Salem metro area, a safe Halloween-alternative.
At Harvest, kids are invited to dress in their favorite costumes. Their families experience foods of all kinds, candy (some 3,000 pounds of it) is given away “trunk-or-treat” style. With the cotton candy and all of the fun activities for kids (including bounce houses, face painting, and a giant rock wall), the atmosphere is like that of the fair, but with one big difference: everything about the event is free.
The event is put on each year as a gift from Center Grove to the families in the region so that the food and activities are all free. All Center Grove requires is that each family or attendee complete a simple registration form to help keep the evening safe. Pre-registration is available throughout the month of October for a Fast Pass into the event on Halloween night. Interested families can pre-register on Sundays at the Clemmons Campus or the Sherwood Forest Campus (meeting at Jefferson Middle School), or by contacting the Center Grove office staff.
The preparations for Harvest at Center Grove begin months in advance as vendors are secured, supplies are gathered, and the candy is collected. Over 400 volunteers are involved. From providing a trunk for “trunk-or-treat,” serving food and drinks, and assisting with registration, to parking cars and welcoming the thousands who attend, these volunteers make the event a reality.
There is one predictable question Center Grove gets year after year about this Harvest event. And that is, “Why? Why do you do it?” The answer is found in the church’s deep commitment to caring for families and its clear sense of being on mission for Christ in Winston-Salem and beyond. Steve Corts, lead pastor at Center Grove, tells us, “Families matter to us because families matter to Christ. Because of Jesus, it truly is our joy to invest in families and spend time serving the people of our community in this way. In fact, part of volunteer preparation includes training our teams to say to those who thank us, “It’s my joy!”
And we do that because it is just that—a joy for us.”
So, from a small, humble church gathering to a major annual community event, Harvest has become something unusual—something you need to see and experience for yourself. If you’re looking for a safe place to take your family this Halloween, you’re invited to Center Grove’s Clemmons Campus to experience Harvest at Center Grove. Full event details can be found on the events page at www.cglife.org. So, dress up your kids, bring some friends, leave your cash behind, and come see for yourself what Harvest at Center Grove is all about!