"MennoFest" - aka. MCC Relief Sale

I’m not sure that Mennonites are usually known as the partying types. There is, however, one exception: MennoFest!

What’s MennoFest you ask?

MennoFest, actually just my wife's name for the event, is Mennonite Central Committee's (MCC) annual Relief Sale happening this weekend in Abbotsford, BC. It’s the combination of three things Mennonites new and old love: food, friends, and good causes.

Food: Filling one massive room, thousands gather to enjoy Mennonite delicacies from around the globe. From farmer sausage (Rempels!) and vareniki (perogies), to rollkuchen and portzekly (both a type of deep-fried dough), to homemade pies, to authentic Mexican, to bison burgers, the array of choices offer a challenge to the least gluttonous among us (not me!).
Friends: For most Mennonites food without friends is an oxymoron. MennoFest proves that. The massive room contains rows of tables where the food-gorging is done in true Mennonite fashion: together. I often heard that for Mennonites, the definition of fellowship is pie and ice cream. This isn’t far from the truth for anyone who’s attended this event. It’s like a holiday family gathering on steroids. You wander around chatting with folks you haven’t seen since last year’s MennoFest, catching up on one another lives, usually in line for seconds (or thirds!).

Service: Seriously, though, the work of MCC is the real reason for this gathering. Each year MCC faithfully works at promoting peace and reconciliation around the world. Much of this work takes place in the form of addressing global poverty, meeting the basic needs of the world’s most hurting people. This year, the focus is on clean water:

The annual MCC Festival at the Abbotsford Tradex on September 10 & 11, 2010 will help provide clean water for thousands of people all around the world. When water is clean and plentiful, people often give it little thought. But in many places in our world, water is scarce. By attending and participating at the MCC Festival, you will help MCC provide water so people around the world have enough to drink, enough to wash, enough to grow food and enough to share.

If you aren’t able to attend this year’s MennoFest, you can still participate. Besides tracking down some farmer sausage, perogies and assorted deep-fried doughs for your own MennoFest, I invite to donate money here (last year they raised over $700,000).
Oh, and don’t forget your pennies! Check out this fun (!?!) tune illustrating the “Penny Power” project:


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