The Single Parent Fair, now in its 6th year and presented by Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard Church, has a lofty goal: to recognize that being a parent is difficult at best, but even more so if you’re going it alone.
In keeping with its goal, Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard Church wanted to bless the single parent home with needed services with no strings attached.
It's a simple enough mission statement, but one that takes the entire Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard Church members, along with a large part of Tehachapi itself, to help fulfill this goal each year. More than 60 church volunteers each year participate in the fair along with dozens of local Tehachapi businesses and community volunteers.
In a statement reiterated at Sunday's fun-filled event, youth ministry leaders and event founders Paul and Michelle Desmond emphasized that their original idea brought before the church six years ago was that this Single Parent Fair was a way to reach out to the community to give back and show the love of Jesus.
”Single moms and dads sometimes feel left out or marginalized, and we want to make sure that they know they are loved, that there is hope and that there is (community) support,” Michelle said.
The Desmonds met years ago, both as single parents, and realized the need for a support system for fellow single parents. As members of the church, they presented their idea to recently-retired church Pastor Barry Galloway. The fair has had a strong annual community presence ever since.
Among the many games and activities offered to children were also complimentary haircuts by several local barbers and hair stylists, and mini manicures and nail painting. The Lions Club volunteered free eye exams by club member and doctor of optometry Caroline Robison. Adults were all invited to partake of these complimentary services including chair massages by certified massage therapist Vinnette Detloff.
Albertsons donated bags of grocery products and cleaning supplies. Each child received a colorful backpack filled with summer fun goodies including a beach towel, sunscreen and water toys. At an earlier church service, the church members were each asked to take an empty bag home and fill it with items that kids would like for summer fun. More than 150 bags came back and were given to each child who attended the fair.
Outside, parents could get a free car wash by church volunteers, attend a fun petting zoo by Windswept Ranch, burn off energy in the bounce houses and eat colorful snow cones.