EasterFest moves to North Topeka

Fourth annual event to take place Saturday

When EasterFest started three years ago in Topeka, organizers from the C5Alive group said they were breaking new ground.


Lee Hartman, president of C5Alive, the leadership arm of the Capital City Christian Chamber of Commerce, said group members had been talking about “all the parades in Topeka” and why it seemed Easter was the only holiday that didn’t have one.

C5Alive members agreed that Easter, of all days, deserved a parade as part of a larger event featuring family-friendly activities, Hartman said.

“So we started working on putting one together,” Hartman said. “The first one went pretty well, and everyone demanded we keep on doing it.”

EasterFest has grown considerably since it began in 2014. This year, for the first time, the event moves to North Topeka from Gage Park, where it previously had been held.

The fourth annual EasterFest will get under way at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 15, with a parade that will begin in the 800 block of N. Kansas Avenue.

The parade — which will include floats from local churches along with participation from area businesses — will proceed north on N. Kansas Avenue about a mile, with the route going through the North Topeka Arts District.

It will end at Garfield Park, 1600 N.E. Quincy, where the remainder of EasterFest activities will take place until 3 p.m.

In addition to the parade, EasterFest will include children’s activities; bubble soccer; laser tag; pony rides; live music from Christian bands; vendor booths; and a variety of food trucks. An Easter egg hunt will take place immediately after the parade concludes.

Hartman said he was pleased to see EasterFest becoming an annual Topeka tradition.

“The first time, everybody was a little unsure how it was going to go,” Hartman said. “We weren’t very organized. Now that we’ve had some experience, we’ve gotten a little more organized, and we’ve got more people involved.”

Hartman said the decision to move the event to Garfield Park this year came about because the north-side location offered a better place “to have all our events close together. It kind of got too spread out at Gage Park.”

Kevin Doel, a board member of the C5Alive group, said Easter offers “the greatest reason to celebrate – that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.’”

“What better reason could there be for a parade than God gave us such hope?” Doel said. “While churches of the Christian faith do their own things on Easter, our goal with EasterFest is for the entire community to come together for a time of celebrating Easter.

”We decided to make it both a parade and a festival so that once the parade is over there are plenty of fun activities for the entire family.”

Doel said that even though the event includes “activities that aren’t all just about Jesus and his resurrection, we hope through the music and message of the day that people will be reminded of the reason we are celebrating this holiday.”

Doel credited the growth of EasterFest to participation by different organizations.

“The Easter egg hunt, for example, is entirely put together by fifth and sixth graders at First Southern Baptist Church,” said Doel, who is one of the co-chairmen for EasterFest. “They have been stuffing thousands of plastic eggs with donated candy for the past few weeks.

“All the churches, companies and non-profits that work to prepare their parade entries with an Easter message help to make this a unique event in Topeka. And of course this event wouldn’t be possible without the countless hours put into it by all of my fellow board members with C5Alive.”

Contact Phil Anderson at (785) 295-1195 or follow live reports @Philreports on Twitter. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/philreports.tcj/