Gospel Fest draws crowd on 1st day

October 05
06:30 2017

October means it’s time for the Dixie Classic Fair.  Good food, fun rides and of course good music with Gospel Fest.  On Day One of Gospel Fest, the crowd seemed to be bigger and more diverse than ever.  The acts fed off of the lively crowd and gave top-notch performances all afternoon.

Over the years Gospel Fest has been known for its soul warming brand of music.  In recent years, different forms of expressing one’s love of God has been on full display at Gospel Fest, and this year is no different.  Dancers, Christian rappers and mime dancers have all taken the stage at the fair.

Deacon Authority, a Christian rapper, was a perfect example of that different style of performer.  He was joined on stage by Curtis Clay, George Pettiford and Ro’derick Shepard.  They had everyone in the crowd on their feet and even touched the older demographic that was in attendance.

“We were invited to come out and we were glad to come out,” said Deacon Authority.  “We were excited and we love to eat junk food at the fair.  We get to do ministry and hang out, so it was perfect for us.”

“We try to translate the Word in a form the young people can understand because some of it can go over a youth’s head,” he continued.  We really are making music for us and it resonated out to touch the people.  We are instruments of God to spread the Word so when the people receive it, we know we are doing our job correctly.”

Many of the guests attending the show were highly surprised and pleased by the variety of acts on display.  Kenneth Fields of Pfafftown says he came to the fair for the food and rides but once he heard the gospel show, he decided to stay and listen.

“My wife and I were not even aware there was a gospel show here at the fair,” he said.  “To my surprise, while walking by we heard the music and decided to stop and listen.  After we got something to eat, we came back and listened.  Surprisingly enough we not only enjoyed the singing but also the Christian rappers.”

For those traditional gospel fans, Richard Dawkins hit the stage for the afternoon concert.  He says with everything going on in the world right now, for him to get the chance to come out and inspire the crowd with his music was his pleasure.

“With so much depression and confusion going on, I thought this is the time we need to encourage one another,” Dawkins said.  “We just have to look forward to what God is doing in our lives and what better place to do that than right here in a public forum to let people know I believe in God and what He says in his Word is still true.

“When God opens the door, I want every opportunity to let people know God is real, and if I can share the music that God has given to me close to home, that is fantastic,” he continued.  “It’s amazing sometimes when you are just doing what you do and people appreciate that.  It is hard to put into words and it’s an awesome experience.”

King’s Kid was the youngest performer on Sunday afternoon.  His interpretative dance routine was the highlight of the day for some people.  King’s Kid, whose real name is I’zaah Ankee Gray, says his mother informed him of the Gospel Fest event and once he learned of it, he wanted to participate.

“When I got here, I was surprised by all the other talent that was here,” he said.  “It was really fun and I wanted to perform it here for the people.  I enjoy dancing because my mother dances and as long as I can praise God with my talent, I’m happy.”

Shareese Fletcher, an audience member, says she could not believe the “extreme talent” displayed by Gray.  She says it is great to see young people involved in the ministry in any way, shape or form.

“For me, it is just great to see a young man out here not ashamed to show his love for God,” she said.  “I know many young people are not involved with the ministry but we have to show them alternatives to what we grew up on, and this young man showed us one way.”

Debra Terry Stephens, Gospel Fest coordinator and emcee, says it is an “absolute rush” to see the fruits of her labor come together.

“It is great to see everyone have a wonderful time by spreading great gospel music into the atmosphere,” she said.  “I try to reach all demographics when I choose the artists but still keep the heart and feel of gospel music as all of us know and love.

“I try to have my finger on the pulse of what people like and what is good for the soul or heart,” she continued.  “I think the line up of artist along with the weather brought out more people.  It was absolutely wonderful to see people walking up.  If no one showed up, I would be the artists’ biggest fan because I am such a supporter of everyone whether I know them or not.”

Gospel Fest continues this coming Sunday, Oct. 8. Performers will be Saundra Crenshaw & Pure Quality, Dr. George Pass II and NEW, Camari Jeter, Bishop Grosjean Stephens, Raymond & Kim Larkin: Real Love Music, The Gatekeeperz and Patty Perrin & Friends.

Emcees will be:

*Debra Terry Stephens, an accomplished actress, comedian, singer and producer, who is the event’s organizer and owner of  Mustard Seed Entertainment.

*Carmen Russell, a well-known member of the Russell family who own and operates Russell Funeral Home has had a visible role in the community for decades.

*Busta Brown, a former radio announcer, TV show host, co-founder of the Next Level of the Triad, author and motivational speaker who works with The Chronicle, providing multimedia projects.

The public is invited. A ticket to the Dixie Classic Fair is required for entrance into the fair. Adult tickets are $10 at the gate. For more information, go to


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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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