For those who like Christian pop and pyrotechnics, this year’s Freedom Fest could be a blast.
The First Church of God on Colby Road has booked Building 429, one of the biggest contemporary Christian music bands, for its Fourth of July weekend festival, which will be on Saturday.
The gates will open at 6, and the program will begin at 8 with the tribute. There is no charge for admission or parking. The only money the church will make on the festival will be from vendors.
“We wanted to do something for the community, to reach out and make it an event where people could come and bring their families for a night of bonding and relaxation,” said Daniel Konstantopoulous, a member of the church and one of the volunteers helping with the program. “Also, it gives us a chance to get the gospel of Jesus Christ out.”
The idea, he said, is to offer folks something to do around the holiday that involves a “good, clean family atmosphere.”
For the past three years, the church, located just outside of town on Colby, had the event on July 3, the day before Independence Day. But because Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation’s patriotic festival at Lykins Park is also on July 3, organizers decided this year to have it a day earlier, on Saturday.
For that reason, and because of the momentum that has been building each year, the church is expecting its largest crowd ever.
“The first year, we had only 500 people, and we just did a fireworks show,” Konstantopoulous said. “Then the first year we had a concert, it went to 1,500, and then last year when we had a band, we had 2,500 people. It keeps growing every year. We’re expecting to hit 3,500 this year.”
Having a CCM band has been popular. Like the previous bands, Rush of Fools and Big Daddy Weave, Building 429 is mostly light rock with a touch of other genres.
“It’s for everybody — not just one age group,” he said.
Building 429 won the 2005 Dove Award for best new artist of the year, Konstantopoulous mentioned.
In addition to performing, he said, band members will give “their testimony” and will give autographs after the show. They’ll also have a merchandise table where fans can buy CDs and T-shirts.
Konstantopoulous said the program will begin with a tribute to veterans, first responders, police officers, firefighters and others who serve the public. Pastor Gary Brown will have a short message that compares the sacrifices they make for the sacrifice Christ made for humankind, he said.
“The first 30 minutes or so will be to honor them with a little gift,” Konstantopoulous said.
The fireworks show, he said, will be “a pretty good” one that should last about 20 to 25 minutes.
People may arrive two hours before the program and bring their own lawn chairs and blankets to make themselves comfortable.
There will be giant inflatables for children to bounce on, and the food for sale will include pulled pork barbecue, smoked brisket, popcorn and Ale-8.
The event, Konstantopoulous said, is one that people of any age can enjoy — from infants to octogenarians.
Contact Randy Patrick at email@example.com.