Famed Stars, Evangelists Hit Metro Maryland Tonight

The Metro Maryland area will be receiving a couple of legendary stars whose names are stoned on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this weekend as Franklin Graham opens a long-awaited evangelistic festival tonight.

On the opening night of the Metro Maryland Festival, award-winning country artist Randy Travis will take the stage along with Wintley Phipps and George Huff. Prayers from the 655 churches involved and hundreds of youths have already been said for the first massive Christian event that the region has ever seen, according to one of the local festival organizers.

Tens of thousands are expected to fill Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the next three days beginning tonight. Local churches anticipate evangelist Franklin Graham hitting their town along with his father, 87-year-old Billy Graham who is scheduled to preach the final sermon on Sunday.

The July festival follows months after Franklin Graham saw more than 19,200 attendants in Mobile, Ala., and 935 people come to Christ despite bad weather conditions and the aftermath of the August 2005 hurricanes.

Preparations for this weekend’s festival have involved greater participation from youth in preceding months. Students from the local area have continually gathered in prayers and trained in Christian Life and Witness classes. On Saturday, the festival will gear itself more toward children and youth with KidzFest and music artists Israel Houghton and New Breed, FFH, Paul Overstreet, and Joy Williams.

The final festival day will feature the Newsboys, Lynda Randle, Andrae Crouch and, health permitting, long-time evangelist Billy Graham.