Call it a street fair or call it a block party.
Either way, the Salvation Army of Jefferson County welcomes the public to this annual tradition that is set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It will be held next to the Salvation Army, located at 332 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, with Dock Street blocked off from Fourth Street to Third Street.
Capt. Dolly Griffin and her husband, Capt. Steve Griffin, commanding officers of the Salvation Army of Jefferson County, with informational material to be available at the street fair/block party on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-- Janice R. Kiaski
The all-free event open to all will feature food, games, prizes, inflatables, a duck pond, facepainting, corn hole and crafts in addition to a fire truck to check out.
In the event of inclement weather, there is no rain date.
"The more the merrier, and it's all free," said Capt. Dolly Griffin who along with her husband, Capt. Steve Griffin, will be experiencing their first community block party locally since assuming the husband-and-wife duties of commanding officers of the Salvation Army of Jefferson County on June 26.
They replaced Maj. Earline May, who had held the post for close to 12 years and moved on for an 18-month appointment at the Salvation Army of Columbus to spearhead the department for human trafficking and work in the finance department before retiring.
"It's a fun time for the community, kids and adults alike," Steve said of the upcoming event where the couple hope to use it as an educational tool as well.
"There's going to be an information table," Dolly said, explaining they will make available a variety of literature and brochures on what the Salvation Army is all about, that it is "more than a social service agency."
First and foremost, they emphasized, the Salvation Army is a church.
"We (the Salvation Army) were founded on the Bible according to scripture," Dolly said. According to a history of the Salvation Army, William Booth left the Methodist ministry in 1865 to preach as an independent evangelist in the slums of London's East End. While he made many converts, they didn't feel at home in church, so Booth established Christian mission centers. From there, the Salvation Army was formed and flourished the world over.
In that it is a church, the Griffins noted "come-as-you-are" services are held every Sunday there at 11 a.m. with Sunday school classes for all ages beginning at 9:45 a.m. Staffed nursery services are provided.
The general church attendance is 16, according to the Griffins, who would like to see that increased.
"We're like most churches," Steve said. "We struggle for attendance as society is getting away from regular church attendance, and it's not stressed in the homes. Kids are not being raised that way," he said. "A lot of people stay in bed on Sundays, and it used to be, you couldn't do anything on Sundays because businesses were closed." With activities scheduled on Sundays, there is much to draw families' attention away from church attendance, he said.
On Wednesdays there is opportunity on two fronts for ministry fellowship with a women's ministry there weekly at 9:30 a.m. and a Bible study for men and women at 11 a.m.
The Griffins said they have been "very welcomed" by the community since arriving in late June and are getting acclimated to their new surroundings and duties.
Dolly said as the "programs person" she is looking to kick off the free seniors program for those 55 and older as soon as August with children's programming to be launched in September.
The Salvation Army has been a call on the Griffins' lives for the past 11 years, first as commanding officers for four years in Gloversville, N.Y., near Albany; then four years in Herkimer, N.Y., near Utica; then the past three at Alliance, one of three Salvation Army posts in Stark County.
The ministry is a second career of sorts for the couple, who will celebrate their 40th anniversary come August. Steve, a native of Princeton, Ill., was in the Marine Corps for 20 years, retiring in 1991, then was a commercial truck driver for 10 years, retiring in 2001. Dolly, born and raised in Rome, N.Y., worked in banking, retail and the oil industry.
Their no-church background over the years gave way to a churched one when Dolly became a member of the Salvation Army in the early 1990s. The Salvation Army is, first and foremost, a church, something many people don't realize, they said. She also would work as a secretary/case manager at the Salvation Army in Rome.