JONESVILLE — With increased attendance comes increased traffic, which has caused Arlington First Baptist to rethink its traffic flow plan.
The church has changed the traffic flow of its annual trunk-or-treat event to make the situation safer for children and adults who participate each Halloween.
Arlington First Baptist has held the trick-or-treating substitute for five years, with each year seeing higher attendance than the previous one. Attendance has jumped from 150 the first year to more than 500 last year.
“It’s grown 100 or 200 every year that we’ve done it,” Assistant Pastor Marty Nixon said. “We run out of candy every year and it’s just a wonderful thing to meet the families in the community.”
Nixon estimated that 90 percent of the families who participate are in the immediate area, but added that some come from as far away as Ronda-Clingman to join the fun.
The sixth annual event is poised to break that record again.
The potential problem lies in the location of the church relative to the number of cars and walkers enjoying the program.
The church is located in a sharp S-curve of U.S. 21 next to the Arlington Fire Department.
At the urging of the Jonesville Police Department, the church has changed the flow of traffic coming into the parking lot to prevent any accidents from occurring.
This year the church will close off the upper parking lot and only allow vehicles to enter to the left of the fellowship hall. Parents can drop off their children there and let them walk across the closed-to-traffic driveway and past the church building to the trunk-or-treat area.
No drop offs will be allowed on the highway. This change will be enforced by the Jonesville Police Department.
Vehicles will then move down the hill behind the church and past the cemetery to East Bend Boulevard. Making a left will bring the driver back out to Highway 21 in front of Lewis Furniture, where parking will be available and pick ups can be done.
A small amount of additional parking will be available behind the church.
The vehicles included in the trunk-or-treating will be parked in the main parking area to the right of the church. Children can walk the lot and receive candy.
No parking will be allowed across the road from the church. Mini traffic cones purchased by the church will designate the no-parking and no-driving areas.
Hot dogs also will be served in front of the church’s bus shelter in the lot. The first 500 children will receive a free hot dog along with their candy.
“There’s a hunger need there. I work at Jonesville School and I see children starving and this is another way that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus and take care of that. I love to do that for the families,” Nixon said.
The hot dogs will be provided rain or not. The church has moved the food inside to the fellowship building before during inclement weather and will again to prevent a washout of their desire to help.
The church also encourages trick-or-treaters to visit the neighboring Arlington Fire Department. The two have a long history of partnering together to make the event safe and to promote each other’s candy efforts.
Reach Taylor Pardue at 835-1513 ext. 15 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.