The nation's largest Christian music festival is drawing tens of thousands of worshippers, many of the nation's top Christian music artists, and renowned speakers including Ron Luce, Greg Laurie and Will Graham to the mountain ranges of Mount Union, Pa., for four days of praise, worship, teaching, and fellowship.
Creation 09 Northeast festival, which officially kicks off Wednesday, marks its 31st year this year and promises to be "the highlight of your summer and maybe your life," according to organizers.
"Creation is more than just fun and entertainment – it is a spiritually rewarding and enriching experience," says Creation Festival co-founder and director Harry Thomas.
"Nothing can compare to tens of thousands of people praising God together, being a part of the candle-lighting service, or even or watching young people being baptized," adds the church pastor. "We have ensured that the Festival features more than music and speaking and provides an overall experience that challenges Christians to be vessels and on fire for Christ – what happens at Creation changes one's walk with their Savior."
Since its founding in 1979, the Creation Festival has become the largest event of its kind, adding a second event on the west coast in 1998 and expanding internationally in 2005.
Each year, the Creation Festival boasts a powerhouse artist lineup, which this year includes Casting Crowns, Third Day, Chris Tomlin, Skillet, Family Force 5, Hawk Nelson, David Crowder Band, Hawk Nelson, Kutless, BarlowGirl and many more.
In addition to the time of praise and worship each day, the Creation Festival offers a training conference for worship leaders, musicians and writers each afternoon and distinct seminar classes ranging from songwriting to hands-on training for bands to provide worship leaders and musicians an opportunity to come together for teaching and fellowship.
The festival also provides additional entertainment and special features for all in attendance, including extreme games with climbing walls, spider jumps and sumo wrestling, a Skateboard and BMX ministry, a Gear Giveaway and a vendor Exhibit area with almost 200 booths with an assortment of merchandise and apparel available for purchase and ministries and colleges offering free literature and information.
"The Creation Festival is all about changing lives and glorifying our Creator," state organizers. "Our prayer for Creation 09 is that people will be changed, restored, and challenged to serve the Lord and to make a difference in this world."
The Creation Festival has been recognized twice in CCM Magazine's annual "Readers Choice Awards" as "Favorite Festival." It was also awarded the Gospel Music Association's "Lifetime Achievement Award," an honor that recognizes major contributions to the gospel music industry through a company's commitment to the Christian community for 20 or more years.
Last year, organizers of the popular festival launched the first-ever Creation Festival tour, which hit more than 30 cities across the Northeast, Midwest and South. Patterned after the Creation Festival the tour featured some of the top names in Christian music as well as local outreach to allow fans across the country to experience a taste of the annual 4-day events held in June and July in one night of music, teaching and fun.
Creation has also branched out internationally, giving birth to the Friendship Fest in the Muslim country of Morocco and later to festivals in Canada, Iceland, Switzerland, and France.
"Now more than ever Believers need to come together to worship the Lord and hear God's Word," says Thomas.
Next month, Creation Northwest – Creation Northeast's western counterpart – will be marking its 12th year at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash., July 22-25.
The 31st annual Creation Northeast will be held June 24-27 at the Agape Farm.