Free night out for families

For being relatively new, Cedarcreek Covenant Church is an old hand at hosting community gatherings.

For being relatively new, Cedarcreek Covenant Church is an old hand at hosting community gatherings.

The Maple Valley church, which started in 2001, will host its annual, free Community Family Night next Friday at Glacier Park Elementary School.

The event will feature a man who’s made a name for himself nationally as an expert on reptiles, plus freshly baked cookies, lots of games and visits from local police and fire departments.

The proceedings, part of Cedarcreek’s stated vision of “Building life changing relationships with God, one another and the world,” will start at 6 p.m. at the school, which is where the church members meet weekly to worship.

“It’s often difficult for families with children to find activities they can do together that don’t cost a lot of money. We simply want to provide an evening the whole family can enjoy free of charge, while also providing connections with the many valuable resources that are available in our community,” said Dana Sylvester, Cedarcreek’s chairman. “We want to share Jesus’ love in ways that meet real needs. A free family night is a great way for parents to spend some fun time with their children without breaking the bank.”

This is the second year for the event. The headline attraction this year is Reptile Man, also known as Scott Peterson. He has performed at more than 800 schools with his reptiles, scoring a hit with children that way and on Disney TV’s nationally televised “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

He’ll be on hand next Friday with several of his reptiles, beginning at about 8 p.m.

“Kids love him and have probably gone home after school assemblies and told their parents about the snake they held at school that day,” Sylvester said. “Now the kids can bring mom and dad and let them experience it, too.”

The community night will also include booths representing community services available to families, representatives of the Maple Valley Police Department to help families make child identification kits, and firefighters from Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety with a fire truck to explore.

“We’ll also have several inflatables and carnival games in the parking lot and free food, just like we did last year,” Sylvester said. “Families can come for all or part of the event and stay as long as they like. It’s all about them.”

Dave Foss, another Cedarcreek leader, noted that community involvement by the approximately 130 members of the church doesn’t end with next Friday’s fun.

“We hold it as a high priority to build relationships in our community,” he said. “We have folks involved at Glacier Park as mentors, tutors, providing snacks for kids that come to school hungry and helping keep the gardens up.”

Cedarcreek also supports Maple Valley Food Bank and Vine Maple Place, a Christian-based organization with housing and support services for homeless families.

Cedarcreek worship services are at 10 a.m. Sundays.