LAKE BROWNWOOD — The Heart of Texas Camp and Retreat, located near the waters of Lake Brownwood, is more than a summer camp, executive director Rhonda Roberts said.

The camp is open year round for retreats and conferences, and a new activity has been added: the camp’s first Family Fall Fest, held the weekend of Nov. 9-10. The fest was a success, drawing about 100 each night, and plans are to make the fest an annual event, Roberts said.

“We feel like that was a great start for the first one we’ve ever had,” Roberts said.

The purpose of the fest was “to make something unique to the Brownwood area to serve our community that was different than the Halloween events,” Roberts said. She said the family friendly event was designed to appeal to all ages — “from 1 to 92. It has more of a fall and Thanksgiving feel which gives a great event between Halloween and Christmas.”

The camp is also preparing for its Christmas Dinner Theatre, which will be Dec. 12 and will feature the Ragtown Gospel Theater’s Chip Polk, a singer, songwriter, author and playwright.

There will be two performances — lunch (11:30 a.m.) and dinner (6:30 p.m.). Tickets are $25 a person, and group rates are available.

The Heart of Texas Camp and Retreat was known as the Heart of Texas Baptist Encampment when it was established in 1946 by the area Baptist Brotherhood.

In 2008, the name was changed to the Heart of Texas Camp and Conference Center. The name was later changed once again, this time to Camp and Retreat. “We are still the same organization, same mission,” Roberts said earlier. “We feel like (the name) better reflects our audience.”

The camp’s mission: “to provide a place for people to get away from the world and hear from God,” Roberts said. “No matter where they are in life or what age or what they’re dealing with, it’s always good to get away, to get people out of ‘normal,’ and point people toward God and seek him.”

The camp is “surrounded by mature Live Oak trees with comfortable accommodations, friendly staff and relaxing view of God’s creation,” the camp’s website states.

Speaking more about the Fall Fest, Roberts said it included many events the camp already has in place including the zip lines, outdoor fireplace with marshmallow roasting and s’mores, concession stand and the General Store which offered hot chocolate, flavored coffees and smoothies.

The camp owns a covered wagon that made its debut and was pulled by the camp tractor, Roberts said.

“The wagon rides were so popular that it will definitely be used many ways in the future,” Roberts said. “The two special things that we created especially for the Fall Fest this year were a staged photo booth with a fall theme, and a camp style corn maze.” Both were made by the camp’s staff.

Sunday night, church church groups attended from Rocky Creek Baptist Church, High Mesa Cowboy church, Valera Baptist Church, and Eastside Baptist Church of Comanche. There were also several families with young children and a homeschool group.

“This event is great for church groups, but also great for individuals or families regardless of church affiliation,” Roberts said.