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About 100 enjoy fun, fellowship at gospel music event

June 02, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - About 100 people enjoyed gospel music and roasted hog on Saturday afternoon during the annual Summer Gospel Fest and Hog Roast at Sam Michaels Park.

The Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission sponsors the annual event, which is meant to bring families to the county's parks, said Jennifer Myers, assistant director of the commission.

Years ago, the commission offered bluegrass, country concerts and gospel concerts. Gospel music proved to be the most popular, so the event now is all about gospel and roasted hog.

The hog roast was an experiment one year and proved to be a huge hit, Myers said.

"We get just as many calls about having the hog as we get about the Gospel Fest," she said.

Gospel singer Michael Birchfield closes the show every year, but new acts are included in the event.

This year, The Wilsons, a family group out of Winchester, Va., opened the show.

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Norma and Thomas Bowers of Charles Town, W.Va., attended the Gospel Fest last year and claimed seats in the front row this year.

The couple loved Birchfield's performance last year, and were looking forward to seeing him in concert again, Norma Bowers said.

"You can hear what they're singing and saying," she said. "I'm a Christian. I love God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit."

Thomas Bowers likes gospel music because it sounds like country music used to sound, he said. It's relaxing and inspirational, he said. He only was disappointed in the turnout.

"I'd like to see a few more people out," he said. "They don't know what they're missing."

This year's event was moved inside Sam Michaels Park's community center because of weather concerns, Myers said. The community center also is air-conditioned, so people won't get overheated, she said.

Inside the community center's gym, lights and sound equipment were at one end with rows of metal chairs set up in the center of the gym.

JoEllen and Ray Toothman of Charles Town were thankful for an enjoyable evening listening to Christian music, the couple said as they sampled the pulled pork from the hog roast.

"There are people from all different churches," JoEllen Toothman said. "It's fun fellowship."

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