B'ville Festival Honors Educators Sunday

Paper Mill Island hosts a bevy of entertainment every summer, but this Sunday, Aug. 31, Word of Life Assembly of God aims to celebrate Baldwinsville's educators with free food and entertainment.

The Family Island Festival begins at 11 a.m. and is scheduled until 4 p.m., where families are welcome to free hot dogs, chips and water while paying honor to teachers of the community.

"We hope to be able to do this every year, with each year honoring and celebrating a different group of people, this year focusing on educators," Rev. Claude Valdes of Word of Life said.

Any educator who steps onto the island will be given a pin recognizing them by their profession as well as a gift and then they will be given special treatment all day.

"We got a list from the schools in the area as to what each grade K through fifth will need this coming year, and put together 60 care packages to raffle off to educators during the day, and they can get a package corresponding to the grade they teach," Valdes said.

The honoring of teachers from Word of Life does not stop after the festivities end this Sunday. On the first day of school there will be a feast from Panera Bread in each break room of each Baldwinsville school.

There will be plenty of activities for those who aren't teachers but wish to join in on the fun this Sunday. Games and presentations will be going on throughout the day, as well as a raffle consisting of 25 bicycles, four iPod nanos and six laptops. There will also be vendors selling various treats in addition to the free food already available.

"We wanted to create an environment where families could relax, where we could serve the community and honor those who help and touch our lives," Valdes said.

For those skeptical about attending a church function, Valdes is reassuring that there is no ulterior motive behind the Family Island Festival.

"I hope people will come out to the island, and not think that we're trying to relay a specific church message," he said. "We have no church motive. We just encourage people to come out no strings attached and have fun in a safe, family friendly environment."

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