Chelsea residents enjoy inaugural Save the Camp Festival Fundraiser

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Locals enjoyed a variety of festivities during the first-ever Save the Camp Fall Festival Fundraiser

The festival took place on Nov. 18 from 5-8 p.m. at the field between Chelsea Corners and Winn Dixie where the Big Kaboom and the Bikes 4 Kids Rodeo normally take place.

The event brought an evening filled with smiles, food and a variety of entertainment for local families all while helping raise funds to save Hargis Christian Camp.

“We wanted to have something for our community,” said Aaron Knight who runs Hargis Christian Camp with his wife Kellie. “Our community has been really good to us and so really this festival is more than a fundraiser—it’s more of a way for us to show appreciation to the community that has helped us raise money to save this camp that means so much to our town.”

Attendees were also able to enjoy live music throughout the event and children were able to participate in a variety of games and enjoy a petting zoo.

The event featured around 80-90 different vendors, with a variety of food trucks and local merchants selling goods. Vendors at the event were able to register for free.

“There’s no vendor fee set up,” Aaron said. “We wanted them to be able to come in and be able to enjoy whatever they’re selling. If they want to give a portion of the proceeds to the camp, they can.”

Hargis Christian Camp has been a staple of the area since 1965 and has served a space for generations of local residents to congregate and spend time together.

“It’s more than just (a) church camp and church camps are great—what we do is we try to connect with the community and be an asset,” Aaron said. “The local teams come in—the Shelby County High School football team, Chelsea football team, the volleyball team, soccer team, baseball team—local teams come in and we share the gospel with them. Also, a lot of special needs groups come in to the camp.

Aaron and Kellie have working over the last two years to pay back a $2.5 million loan in order to keep the camp after buying back the camp’s property.

“Not every town gets to have a camp, not every town around here has a camp,” Aaron said. “And so, in saving the camp, we wanted to make Jesus known, that was our main objective for this generation. We also wanted to be an asset to our community and (be) something that people could use and come around be able to share in God’s creation out there.”

The Knights are close to meeting their goal of raising funds for the camp. After a recent donation by Avadian Credit Union, Hargis Christian Camp needs to raise $475,000 by Dec. 31.

“We’ve raised almost half a million dollars in six weeks—that’s a good spot to be in,” Aaron said. “We’ve gotten kind of used to being uncomfortable. “It’s a good place and it’s a challenging place but it’s fun to see how the Lord raises that money. It’s really not up to us, it’s up to him.”