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Hogansville to host gospel festival

There will be a free Freedom Gospel Festival on Saturday, July 24 at Calvin Hipp Park at 400 E Main Street in Hogansville, according to a flyer for the event.

Gospel singing will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature music by One Accord, Back Porch Pickers, Grace Abounds, Kingdom Express, All For Him, and Sanders Family. Event co-organizer and Hogansville City Council Member Toni Striblin said the accompanying marketplace, which will consist of various vendors , will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The marketplace will be located on Mainstreet at Askew Park, across from the Royal Theater. The event is being sponsored by Roger’s Bar-B-Que on 1863 East Main Street, Hogansville. Food will be available. Roger’s Bar-B-Que will sell barbecue pork and barbecue chicken sandwiches, chips, canned Coke, tea and bottled water.  Another vendor will sell Italian ice, Springhill Baptist Church will sell funnel cakes, and two brothers, one seven and one eight, will be running a lemonade stand. Various other foods will be sold at the marketplace, mainly by churches.

A 10 by 10 booth space costs $5. Striblin said there are plenty of spaces left.  To apply for a booth space, call Striblin at (706) 302 6453. Churches are encouraged to register to sell food to raise money for camp, Vacation Bible school, and other special programs. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the music. This event was organized by Striblin and Chris Studdard, the music director at Creekside Baptist Church in LaGrange.

Striblin explained that she was inspired to hold the event by concerts she and her husband, Randy Striblin, used to have at Roger’s Bar-B-Que. After about eight years of hosting gospel singers on Tuesday nights, they started getting phone calls from music rights organizations ASCAP and BMI saying that the Striblins were infringing on the rights of the songwriters.

“They were going to charge us for all of our building so much per square foot. And we weren’t charging for [the concerts]. It was just a free thing for the community. So, we had to stop; we just couldn’t afford it,” she said.

Striblin said that ever since the restaurant stopped having gospel music, customers have asked when they’d have the concerts again.

“I talked to Randy about it two months ago,” she said. “I said, ‘Randy, why don’t we do a gospel [concert]? Why don’t we have it downtown in a festival atmosphere where people can come and look forward to it? That way, we can actually do it. It’s a festival’ … So he said yes, and he said for the first time that he would fully sponsor it, like pay for it.”

Striblin said that when she started organizing the event, Studdard, who had sung on gospel nights at the Striblins’ restaurant, was a member of the Chattahoochee Valley Southern Gospel Music Association. He recruited several gospel groups from the organization to sing at the festival.

“Chris handled the gospel part of it, and then I handled the marketplace part of it because we wanted to have it where people had food…” Striblin said. “And what we really wanted to have more than anything else was that churches would have a way to raise funds for their vacation Bible schools or for Sunday school or for summer camps, for a building project. You know, churches always have things that they need to raise money for.”

She explained that the marketplace she was setting up would allow them to do that.

“I didn’t know that the yard sale collectibles, antique, food part would even take off, but it really has, and it’s going to be loaded down with plenty of shopping,” Striblin said. “We’d really like to highlight our downtown [area],” Striblin said.

She said that she hoped that by having the event downt wn, it would attract visitors to local businesses.

“We intend to [run the festival] every year,” Striblin said. “I will be honest — If the marketplace goes well, I may do the marketplace on a more regular basis. And that I will coordinate with Allison Creel because she does our Alive After Five [events]. We don’t want to overlap good programming. We just want to improve programming within downtown, so that it’s successful for everyone.”

Striblin said if another Freedom Festival is held, it may feature a different genre of music such as jazz, country, or rock.

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