God and Country Festival Celebrates Nation's Religious Foundation

The God and Country Festival celebrated its 40th anniversary this past Wednesday, mixing both Christianity and patriotism.

The event drew some 11,000 people from the surrounding area around Nampa, Idaho, and filled up the Idaho Center Amphitheater despite intense heat throughout the day.

The celebration, which came ahead of the upcoming Independence Day observances, was to commemorate the birth of the United States but also the religious foundation it was built upon.

"We are actually bringing together the community with God and Country Festival," explained Don Wixom, president of the family festival, according to Fox 12 News. "Together it's when the community embraces the Christian values that our country was founded on."

A highlight of the event was a number of musical performances. Headlining this year's festival was Phillips, Craig and Dean – the Dove Award-winning contemporary Christian music trio who started in the early 90s and has recorded 18 No. 1 songs. Other performers were Mark Harris, Jamie Thietten, and Brandon Heath.

Attendants were also treated to an overwhelming amount of food and a fireworks show at the end of the day to the background of patriotic and Christian music.

"I think it's a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July: outdoors, great music, great atmosphere and fireworks," said 60-year-old attendant Lydia Christian, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. "What more could you want?"

Amid all the activities that the family event offers, organizers hope that people do not forget the mission of the event: to give honor to God and to show pride for the country.

"It raises awareness of how important it is for us as a country to be centered around God," said Wes Miller, who manned a AWANA youth ministry booth, to the Idaho Press-Tribune. "It's great for the kids."

"It brings all the Christians together to fellowship, and brings other people to Christ," added Jason Bradford of Boise, according to the Idaho Statesman.

The affair was free of charge as it has been in the past years. Event directors explained that it was also a good chance to help the local ministries gain some exposure through the booths that they had setup at the festivities.

The God and Country Festival was also a chance for everyone to exercise their religious freedom.

"It shows we still have the American freedom to believe in God and share Christ freely," concluded Nampa-native Elaine Lee, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune.