Gospel Festival 2008


The Fest was held at the Cherry Street Pavilion on Cherry Street in Historic Downtown Helena-West Helena

Downtown Helena-West Helena, Arkansas was the scene. Food, Folks, Fun and great Gospel Music were on the itinerary. The day was overcast. The temperature was mild. Everybody that wanted to be was in place and the 8th Annual Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Festival kicked off. People came from as near as the next street over and as far as Germany.

It sprinkled a little rain. The stage ambassadors, Johnny, Yolanda, Craig and others prayed that the rain would "go away." It did! The sun broke through the clouds and the crowd swelled to thousands of people.

We are grateful, truly grateful, to Elijah Mondy, Belinda Mondy, MBS Broadcasting and the entire Christian Gospel network. They broadcast segments of this festival live over the radio airwaves to an audience of 1.3 million people in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

We appreciate Mayor Heather Hudson, Mayor of Greenville, Mississippi. During an on air conversation between Mayor Hudson and me (Mayor James F. Valley) she said should would not be able to attend the festival but would send two (2) things: good weather and a contingent of support from Greenville and Washington County, Mississippi. Judge Bush, the Cork Singers and many, many others made the trek up Highway 1 or Highway 61 and spent the day with us. We thank them for that.

We appreciate the Arkansas Department of Heritage and its Delta Cultural Center's staff. We recommend you visit the Delta Cultural Center's musuems and exhibits.

The local choirs and groups really made a difference and enhanced the audience. The local merchants were supportive and accomodating of our visitors.

The slideshow below tells the story of the gospel festival one picture at a time. There are more than 900 pictures in this slideshow. You may also find these pictures in my picture gallery at http://picasaweb.google.com/MayorJFValley/8thAnnualGospelFest Gospel Festival Pictures.

I hope you take the opportunity to view these pictures and let your friends and family know where to see them as well. These pictures are candid shots of people enjoying each other and the atomosphere created at the junction of great gospel music, lawn chairs, decent weather, slabs of ribs, homemade cakes, kool-aid pickles, fish, refreshingly thirst quenching drinks, the River Levee,and Historic Downtown Helena-West Helena.

At the conclusion of the festival, there was the First Annual Memorial Day Fireworks Show; the Delta's largest fireworks show. It was fantastic and could be seen from miles around. The fireworks display began at approximately 10:40 p.m. with a 21 gun salute to the Veterans and Members of our Armed Forces. We then had a moment of silence in honor of the legacy of our fallen military heroes. Next the fireworks painted the sky, sequence after sequence that brought smiles to the faces of children while making the toddlers cling to their parents in shock, fear and amazement.

Here are a few of those shots:

We thank the Helena-West Helena Advertising & Promotion Commission for the funding that made the $3,200.00 fireworks show possible. The membership on that commission includes: Attorney Don Etherly (City Council), Mrs. Cathy Cunningham (Southern Financial Partners, At Large), Mrs. Dominic Campbell Gates (Wendy's), Mr. John Crow (Edwardian Inn), Ms. Kinah (Kim) Brown (Arkansas Tourist Information Center), and Mr. Pat Roberson (Sonic). The seven member commission should have its seventh position filled by a city council member soon.

In Helena-West Helena, Arkansas we are "Moving Forward Together!" See you here soon.