Over 30,000 Attend Graham Fest in Estonia

Correction appended

More than 30,000 people attended the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope this past weekend in the eastern European country of Estonia.

It was the first time Franklin Graham held a festival in the country although his father, American evangelist Billy Graham, had held an evangelistic event in the capital city of Tallinn in 1984.

Some 350 local churches helped bring the message of hope to people in Estonia and to their neighbors in Latvia and Finland who came by bus to Tallinn to attend the three-day event on May 29-31.

Popular musical performers that took the stage included Michael W. Smith and musical artists from Estonia, Finland, Belarus and Ukraine.

International Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse, which Graham also heads in addition to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, distributed gift-filled Christmas shoe boxes to needy children in Estonia.

Estonia was the location of the second Graham festival this year. In March, Graham kicked off his 2009 crusade schedule in Uruguay. He plans to hold festivals this year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (July 18); St. Louis, Missouri (Aug. 2); Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa (Aug. 8); Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (Aug. 16); and Bogotá, Columbia (Aug. 27-29).

Correction: Tuesday, June 2, 2009:

An article on Monday, June 1, 2009, about the Franklin Graham festival in Estonia incorrectly reported the number of attendants during the three-day event. According to the media group responsible for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the total participants during the three-day festival numbered 30,659. The crowd totaled 10,220 on Saturday, May 30, 2009, alone.