The sixth annual Charlie Brown feast on Friday saw its biggest crowd yet, even with wet weather threatening to derail the event.
The event moved to Fresh by Brookshire's, where more than 100 eager parents and children gathered to watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and eat the snacks featured in the cartoon.
"The idea for this kind of sprang from the mind of my autistic son and he wanted to do this feast in the backyard," Brian Pearson said.
That first year about two dozen people showed up. Seeing how the event resonated with the children, Pearson kept it in mind as something that could grow into a community event.
During the course of his Leadership Tyler classes, Pearson ran the idea past Dennis Cullinane, chief executive officer of the East Texas Food Bank. Cullinane saw the need for community outreach and the event transitioned from the backyard to the community.
"The most important thing is getting the families together to share the story of thanksgiving and teach their kids to remember people who don't have as much as they do," Cullinane said.
Before the movie, Cullinane asked how many of the children in attendance had been to the food bank - many had already volunteered with the nonprofit, he said.
"It seems to just keep growing year in and year out and it almost feels like the unofficial start to the holiday," Pearson said.
Sponsors, including Fresh by Brookshire's, Sweet Gourmet, Popcorn Junction, Texas Swag Bags and New York Life, ensured the families had their fill of popcorn, jelly beans, gelato and more.
Attendees were asked to bring jars of peanut butter for the East Texas Food Bank.
For more information, visit easttexasfoodbank.org.