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Church Used Fair As Fundraiser, Chance to Grow in Faith

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RALEIGH — Singing, praying and worshipping are what most of the members at St. Paul's Christian Church do every week.

But once a year members, including David Starbuck, hand in their Sunday clothes for a white apron and a kitchen full of food.

St. Paul's Christian church has had a booth at the State Fair for almost 40 years.

"What happened during that 40-year period is that there's at least three generations -- that I'm aware of -- of people who came out here as parents," said Starbuck. "They brought their children and their children grew up, and now the fair booth is run by those children that's the third generation that did this 25 years ago."

Starbuck is continuing the tradition with his son.

Through potatoes and cabbage the church raises money to cover unexpected expenses for the year.

"Many times during the year there are unbudgeted items such as roof repairs, lawn -- that kind of thing and the money from the fair goes a lot toward those unbudgeted items," said Rev. Michael Price of St. Paul's.

But most of the members say they do this as much for the fellowship than they do for the money.

"When it's not busy we get to hang around and sometimes eat a little bit of the profit, but we have a good time," said Starbuck's son Daniel.

Seven churches had booths set up at the State Fair this year -- in addition to 14 civic groups that also sold food. For most of them, the fair was their biggest fund raiser of the year.

Churchgoers say the ten-day experience at the fair is also like a lesson on how to be a better Christian.

"The purpose, or the meaning to give, is that the work of Christ may continue," said Price. "If not here, then some other place.