15,000 attend 14th annual En Fuego

Jenny and Ryan Simmons, husband and wife and members of the band Addison Road, perform at En Fuego Saturday.

The annual phenomenon known as En Fuego returned to Verbena on Saturday, drawing an estimated 15,000 people.

Whether they came to hear the soulful hip-hop of Group 1 Crew, the contemporary worship of Addison Road or the ground-shaking Gospel rock of Pillar, there was something for everyone.

“We’re just spreading the love of Jesus,” said Amanda Brace, who was with a group of youth from Demopolis.

Brace, along with friends Melanie Campbell and Matthew Soronen, were giving out “free hugs” as a way of sharing their faith Saturday. The tradition seemed to be a popular one.

Erron Price, student minister at Lomax Assembly of God in Clanton, was in attendance with members of his youth group. Price was also part of the volunteer security team.

“En Fuego is a place where students, college students, parents and people of all ages can come and be real,” Price said. “En Fuego allows that type of atmosphere and allows opportunities for people to experience the Gospel and the presence of God in a life-changing way without the threat of religion.”

Fans cheer, worship and sing along as their favorite Christian bands perform.

In its 14 years, En Fuego has grown to be one of the biggest Christian music festivals in the Southeast. For the still unacquainted, it is held on an inconspicuous hillside along County Road 23 near Verbena. The all-day event is attended by all ages but especially targets student groups.

The focal point of En Fuego is the guest speaker, followed by the traditional bonfire. About six hours into the festival, at 5 p.m., speaker David Nasser took the stage and delivered a scripturally based message. Following a brief invitation, about 445 decisions for Christ were made, said En Fuego Board member Kevin George.

George said everything went smoothly Saturday.

“The crowd participated real well. It was nice and cool. We had a breeze out there most of the day,” he said.

There were no injuries, George added, aside from a couple of bee stings. There was a doctor and a first-aid staff on hand for emergencies, in addition to fire, rescue and law enforcement personnel.

“We appreciate everyone’s help,” George said. “So many people are there to help with the event. It takes everyone to pull it off.”

For year-round information about En Fuego, visit enfuegoinfo.com.

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