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They saddled up.

They made a splash.

They bounced around.

And they hit the bull’s-eye.

Three hours later, an exhausted — but extremely happy — crowd of nearly 250 children left Pathway Church on Saturday with huge smiles on their faces.

It’s called the Fun Festival effect.

“We couldn’t have been more pleased with how the day went,” said Interim Children’s Coordinator Jenine Pyle. “And we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.”

For sure, Pathway’s biggest children’s event of the year was a massive success by any measure.

“Everything came together so well. It was a really, really good day.”

Under a brilliant blue sky, dozens of carnival booths dotted Pathway’s lots as families strolled through, devouring such festival delicacies as cotton candy, popcorn and sno-kones along the route. Games included dart throwing, basketball pop-a-shot, bowling, and ring toss. Children with flowers, animal features, and various shapes painted on their faces bounced from activity to activity — that is, when they weren’t bouncing around in the inflatable houses.

While the kids focused on how high they could soar, Jenine and Executive Pastor John Westurn were going down in the dunk tank — for a good cause, of course. More than $350 was raised to support the Johnston family. Pathway already is planning additional activities to match that total.

Asked how she handled dropping underwater during the crisp fall day, Jenine responded: “I was fine. I wore a wet suit and goggles.”

Pastor John wasn’t so fortunate.

“Poor John. He was getting dunked in the morning when it was only 50 degrees out,” she said, laughing. 

She paused.

“But I don’t feel bad for him.”

Just across the lot, little cowboys and cowgirls saddled up for pony rides and got to meet some furry friends from Living Treasures. 

Jenine was even more thrilled to meet dozens of families visiting Pathway Church for the first time.

“It was really cool that they could spend some time with us,” she said. “I’m excited to follow up and get them to come back.”

Let the fun continue.