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Refuge to host Fall Harvest Festival

The Refuge in Detroit Lakes has been open one year and is ready to stabilize some hours and present its first gathering -- the Fall Harvest Music Festival.

The Christian outreach and resource center is hosting the festival on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 2 to 8 p.m. in the City Park Bandshell. There will be barbeque turkey, a pig roast and lots of musical guests.

"We want to do this every year. It's a fund-raiser for The Refuge," said Mel Manning, who along with his wife, Shirl, began The Refuge last year.

On the schedule for the festival are The Manning Family, Maynard LaVallie, Mark Kiser, Doug Newman, Berge Family, Kim Schnitzer and Vicki Marthaler, Sky Blues, K-TOM and Robert Savogia.

Master of ceremonies is Dave Seaberg -- "He'll make it fun for everyone," Mel Manning added.

Proceeds from the Fall Harvest Music Festival will go to The Refuge for operational costs.

"Plus it's a great opportunity for outreach," he said.

The Refuge is a meeting place located on North Washington Avenue where volunteers can minister to anyone who needs it. Manning said, The Refuge helps the homeless and people dealing with addictions.

"We're for people who wouldn't normally go to church," he said. "We minister to people who need the Lord in their life. Those on staff have been through (addictions) and have been delivered."

Ten members sit on the board of the nonprofit organization.

"We're growing slowly, but we are growing," he said.

One of the growth milestones The Refuge is hitting in October is regular hours. The building will be open afternoons and evenings, with activities certain nights, including soup night and Bible studies. There is live music each Friday night.

He added that while the staff members are not counselors, they are there to listen and minister.

The Refuge plans to work with "all the churches in town," Manning said. "We're trying to work together with all of them."

He added that the nondenominational organization is open to anyone and encourages everyone and anyone to use the facility.

"We have people here who love them and want to see them," he said.

"People pop in and relax or whatever," Shirl Manning said of the laid back atmosphere.

To continue with that atmosphere and the other happenings at The Refuge, the Mannings are planning for a successful first fall festival.

"It's guaranteed to be a wonderful time," he said.

The Fall Harvest Music Festival offers a "broad bunch" of bands including country western, blues, bluegrass and gospel.

Besides entertainment and food, there will be a door prize drawing for a barbecue gas grill at 7:30 p.m.

Cost for the feed is $7.50 for adults, $3 for children 10 and under, and toddlers are free.

Tickets can be purchase at The Refuge, Christian Fellowship Church, Community Alliance Church, Detroit Lakes Assembly of God and at the festival. Thrivent will match funds up to $500.

Bring a lawn chair and blanket and join the festivities.