Thousands endure heat to attend En Fuego 2014

Published 6:49 pm Monday, August 25, 2014

Temperatures in the upper 90s did not deter thousands of people from congregating in Verbena for the 18th annual En Fuego Christian music festival Saturday.

Attendance was lower than in previous years, but the festival still posted another successful year of ministering to people through music and testimony.

“I couldn’t blame anybody that couldn’t come because of the heat,” En Fuego co-founder Johnny Giles said Monday. “It was a much smaller crowd than we’ve had in the past. Still, several thousand people were out there. It was really exciting.”

Giles provided a breakdown of different types of decisions attendees made at the event, including 62 salvations, 99 recommitments, 11 calls to full-time ministry and 38 other faith-related decisions.

He said it was the second-largest total of decisions recorded in one year.

“We were extremely thrilled when we saw that number of people go to the counseling tent,” Giles said. “That was one thing that made us the proudest.”

This year’s all-star lineup—including Crowder, Kari Jobe, OBB, LP, Everyday Sunday, All Access Worship, Allan Scott, Cloverton, speaker Tony Nolan and The “Iceman” (J.D. Anderson)—kept the crowd thoroughly entertained, Giles said.

“J.D. ‘Iceman’ Anderson was a huge hit with the kids,” Giles said of the power-lifter. “Obviously, the biggest crowd favorites were Kari Jobe and David Crowder. People were saying get those two back every year.”

Giles said more than 300 community volunteers helped run the event.

Many churches and businesses in Chilton and surrounding counties supported this year’s event through monetary and material donations, such as equipment and food.

En Fuego’s 13-member board of directors also played an important role in carrying out this year’s festival, Giles said.

The board represents several churches of different denominations in the county.

“Our board is very valuable and worked very hard to make it a success,” Giles said. “We couldn’t make it without our board and our whole volunteer staff. We’re thankful for all the folks that supported us and helped out. It’s not just any one person, but a lot of people.”

Others Giles recognized for their help Saturday were Chilton County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Erric Price and the department, and Clanton’s police and fire departments, for overseeing transportation, parking and security; and Teresa Marcus and the emergency medical service team for providing first-aid treatment onsite.

“We’re looking forward to our 19th annual En Fuego,” Giles said. “We’ll start preparing for next year immediately.”