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En Fuego ready to ignite

You don’t have to do much research to figure out why Verbena’s annual En Fuego is such a big draw to young people.

A glance on the MySpace Web page of Family Force 5 — this year’s headlining band — shows more than 25 million song plays. The Atlanta-based band, popular in both the secular and Christian realms, is known for its combination of dance and rock, funky rhythms and club grooves.

“We encourage fans to dress up in costumes, whether it be a killer whale, a big chicken or a Skeletor outfit,” says guitarist Chap Stique.

Perhaps drummer/keyboardist Nathan Currin describes them best: “Family Force 5 is an unconventional arsenal of ultimate dance floor anthems,” he declares. “We’re at war. Dancing is our weapon, and our party is ready to pull the trigger.”

Eight other artists will share the 60’-by-40’ stage Saturday at the 13th annual Christian music festival, whose Spanish name translates literally to “on fire.” These include Superchick (another headliner), DecembeRadio, After Edmund, Thalon, Eleventyseven, LP, Hello August, and Nine Lashes.

Returning to En Fuego is noted speaker Tony Nolan, who will present a gospel message to the thousands expected to flood the hillside beginning Saturday morning and lasting well into the evening.

It all begins Saturday at noon, and gates will open at 11 a.m. And, perhaps best of all, admission is free.

“Because of all the churches and businesses that have stepped up because they believe in this event and what God does through this event, we have been able to keep it free,” said En Fuego co-founder Johnny Giles.

Event organizers are glad to see little rain in the forecast. Last year, an incoming tropical storm cut the concert short by several hours. This year, weather doesn’t seem to be a big problem.

“We fully expect to get the show in, in its entirety,” Giles said. “Everything is going according to plan.”

More than 20 vendors will be on site with a variety of food and drinks. Also, a booth will provide water and first aid to anyone who needs it.

Overflow parking will be available just past the En Fuego site on County Road 23. Two shuttle buses will transport people to and from their cars.

Directions: From Clanton, take U.S. Highway 31 south through Verbena, make a left turn onto Chilton County Road 23 and follow the signs.

For more information about En Fuego, visit enfuegoinfo.com or call (205) 516-0467.