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Beast Feast set for Saturday

By Carol Rolf

This article was published February 3, 2011 at 6:00 a.m.

— More than 2,500 men and boys are expected to come together for fellowship, food and fun at the Conway Expo Center on Saturday as the Second Baptist Church Men’s Ministry in Conway sponsors its 10th annual sportsman banquet, Beast Feast.

A sellout crowd is expected; however, tickets are still available at Second Baptist Church, 701 Polk St. in Conway, or online at Participants must have tickets to attend the event, which is for men and boys only.

Chris Green, event chairman, said 62 volunteers are on the Beast Feast Team. “During the week of the event, we will have an additional 150 volunteers from the church helping us,” Green said. “It takes a lot of folks to put on this event.”

In the beginning, Beast Feast featured wild game.

“That has changed over the years,” Green said.

“The [Arkansas Game and Fish Commission] won’t let us shoot enough deer to feed 2,500 people,” he said with a laugh.

This year’s menu is smoked pork tenderloin, baked beans, potato salad, bread, dessert and a drink. There is not a children’s menu.

“The little guys get the same thing,” Green said, adding that there are usually 500 to 600 boys in attendance.

The Expo will open at 1 p.m. The dining venue will open at 3, followed by the program at 5.

The guest speaker will be Dave Dravecky, former professional baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, who suffered cancer in his pitching arm and later underwent complete amputation of his arm and shoulder in 1991, which ended his baseball career. Dravecky will share is story and how his faith helped him through his ordeal.

According to information from the Beast Feast website, Dravecky and his wife, Jan, founded the Outreach of Hope ministry (now known as Endurance with Jan and Dave Dravecky) in 1991. The mission of the ministry is to offer comfort, encouragement and hope through Jesus Christ to those who suffer from cancer amputation or serious illness.

The local band Living Grace will provide musical entertainment. Members of the group first began playing together in 2002 as Jason Rapert and Friends. They recorded a compact disc, Run the Streets of Gold, in 2005, which was re-released in 2010.

Beast Feast also offers games and prizes. This year’s top drawing prize will be a 2011 Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV. Other prizes include a 12-foot jon boat, muzzle-loading guns, bows and a guided duck or turkey hunt in Iowa. Green said everyone in attendance gets one ticket for the drawings.

Green said Beast Feast is not a fundraiser.

“It is an outreach to the men of our community,” he said. “It’s targeted to the guys. We always try to have an inspirational speaker. Guys need motivation, too.

“Although Beast Feast is normally a sellout, we do not do it to raise money for the church,” Green said. “We do our best to break even, and if there is any money left over, it goes right back into the program.”

Green said Beast Feast is a 12-month event as far as planning goes.

“Once we tear down this year’s event, we will start planning for next year,” he said. “I’ve already booked next year’s speaker.”

In addition to Beast Feast 2011, organizers will sponsor Beast Feast: Feeding the Hungry at this year’s event.

“We started this last year,” Green said. “It is a community outreach. We encourage everyone who attends this year’s Beast Feast to bring nonperishable food items, which will be donated to the Bethlehem House and Soul Food Café. For every item they bring, they will receive one ticket for a special prize drawing. So if they bring a case of green beans, for instance, they will receive 12 tickets for the special drawing. Last year, we received 36 cases of canned goods.”

For more information on Beast Feast 2011, call the church office at (501) 327-6565. Information is also available at the event’s website and on Facebook, by searching for Beast Feast Arkansas.

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