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10th Annual Wild Beast Feast draws largest crowd to date

By Staff | Jan 30, 2019

Stoney Creek Bluegrass Band provided the musical entertainment at the 10th Annual Wild Beast Feast at the Ranson Civic Center on Friday night. Toni Milbourne

RANSON — Fellowship Bible Church in Shenandoah Junction celebrated its 10th Annual Wild Beast Feast, which held Friday evening at the Ranson Civic Center and drew the largest crowd to date at the event. More than 1,000 attendees came out to enjoy a delicious meal which included several game dishes, such as venison, moose burgers and tenderloin. Squirrel dishes also made their way in, as local hunters donated to the menu.

For the past couple of years, the event has been held at the Ranson Civic Center, as numbers of those wishing to attend have grown. The crowd comes out to enjoy fellowship, a musical group and an inspiring message, while getting an opportunity to win prizes, including guns.

This year’s event welcomed the Eastern Panhandle’s Stoney Creek Bluegrass Band, who entertained the crowd as dinner was served.

Senior Pastor Van Marsceau presented the message at this year’s feast, sharing stories of his younger days working with his uncle in Alaska. Tales of trapping and salmon fishing kept the attention of the audience. Marsceau also shared a story of a deer that had become entangled in a fence, which he encountered after the deer had died, struggling to escape. Marsceau likened the deer to each individual who is trapped in a “sin fence,” sharing that faith in Jesus Christ is the way to break free before death.

“I feel as if the crowd was receptive to the message,” Marsceau said after the event. “I always feel as if I could have presented something better, but they were attentive and a great crowd overall.”

Brett Smeltzer, one of the band members, shared how appreciative Stoney Creek was to be a part the church’s event.

“There were over 1,000 in attendance, with delicious moose, deer, elk and other wildlife delicacies, an awesome story and message delivered by Pastor Van Marsceau and a great evening of fellowship,” Smeltzer said. “We hope to be part of this again.”

As is part of the evening, attendees were invited to share on a survey card that they had decided to follow or rededicate their lives to Christ.

“The purpose of the event is to serve as an outreach and present the gospel,” said organizer John Goff, V. According to the survey cards, more than 145 individuals made the decision to rededicate their lives to Christ while more than 20 accepted Christ as their savior.

“This Wild Beast Feast was a great success,” Goff added.

The annual gun and prize giveaway included an Arthemis 12 Guage Over/Under; a Rossi .410 Single Shot; a Ruger 10/22 22LR; a Ruger American 30-06; and a Henry .308, two cross bows and a quilt. Two youth cross bows were awarded to two lucky winners, along with the adult prizes.

Every attendee was given a giveaway entry card and the top winners were drawn from the bin by Gracelyn Stillwell, who was the youngest attendee who had shot a deer this hunting season. Those grand prize winners were then placed in envelopes and held until all other door prizes were drawn for and distributed. As the top six names were called, each one was given the opportunity to select the top prize of their choice, until all prizes were claimed.

Each of the guns given at the event was donated. No church funds were appropriated to purchase the grand prizes. All state and federal firearm laws were followed, and any individual who won the guns was required to pass a standard Federal application and background check.

In the days following the event, Marsceau had only good things to say about the event.

“This was, once again, a well-run event. We have so many people from Fellowship Bible Church who volunteer to help,” he said.

“We continue to love hosting this event and we want the community to know that Fellowship is here for them and their families,” Marsceau said.