Kirk Cameron, Fireflight in town for Praise Fest

by Lauren K. Ohnesorge

High Country Praise Festival. It's about the music. It's about the people. And, most importantly, organizers say, it's about Christ.

"We really just wanted to open the doors for everybody to come together to just praise Christ," Son's Light Ministries' public relations specialist Megan Anderson said.

At Son's Light, it's not about a sermon. It's not fire and brimstone or an aggressive message. It's about celebrating faith, and what better way to celebrate than with music?

"Music is kind of an open door to everybody," Anderson said. "It's a big part of how we do ministry because we know it reaches out to everybody from younger children to older adults."

And Son's Light reaches out in non-traditional ways, from music lessons to the creation of its own recording studio. Sunday, for the ninth year, it's reaching out through a few popular Christian bands. Think nationally touring acts with a following - a following that may be larger than you think.

"We usually have audiences in the four or five thousand range, and we would love to see it continue growing," Anderson said.

And the thousands come from all over to take advantage of the $5 price.

"It seems every year people (bands) tell us to change the price, raise the price," she said. "But we keep it at $5 because we want to make sure it's accessible."

And, to keep the price low, Son's Light hosts fundraisers like the karaoke night last week.

"We also have several supporters in the area who are regular donors," she said.

As for the music- if you've never experienced contemporary Christian, think upbeat.

"It's all around encouraging, even if people are new or unfamiliar with Christian music," she said.
And this year brings some big names to the stage. Think The Afters, Fireflight, 7-Miles and Offered Soul.

"It's a big deal," Anderson said.

Add ASU coach Jerry Moore's inspirational speech to the mix (along with local football legend Blake Elder) and you've got the makings of a celebration. Still not enough?

This year's Praise Festival won't have you Left Behind. The addition of television and film star Kirk Cameron has even Anderson bubbling over with excitement.

"I will say that I've gotten a vintage Growing Pains T-shirt," Anderson laughed.

Cameron, '80s and '90s television star and headliner in such movies as Fireproof, is more than an actor. He's a Christian activist, and the Praise Festival is more than thrilled to have the star on board.

"The director of Son's Life met Kirk Cameron through a mutual friend about a year ago and happened to be talking to him about the Praise Fest and invited him to come," Anderson said.

To everyone's delight, Cameron accepted.

"It's a big deal to have a name that people will recognize," she said.

Cameron, who vacationed with his family a few years back in Blowing Rock, has gained both notoriety and praise for sticking to his values. Among them? Refusal to kiss other actors on screen, reserving all kisses for his wife.

"I think that the values that he has are certainly reflective of what we want to have," Anderson said.

For more information, check out the Facebook page or www.sonslightministries.com.

It all happens Sunday, September 5 at 4 p.m. at the Holmes Convocation Center on the corner of Rivers Street and Blowing Rock Road.

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