Franklin Graham's Northeast Oklahoma festival wraps up


Monday, September 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Franklin Graham's Northeast Oklahoma festival has come, and already organizers are tallying the attendance.

Close to 60,000 people were expected over the three-day weekend. But early numbers show only about 38,000 people came out. News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger explains that organizers are still pleased with the turnout, especially when you consider the rain. Festival crews were quick to wipe down the bleachers after a heavy but brief rainfall minutes before the Graham festival was set to begin Sunday afternoon.

But folks came prepared, decked out in their rain gear and ready for another night of uplifting words and songs. "It don't stop you from the football game can't stop you from praising the Lord!" Just as the festival began, the sun peaked out of the clouds, giving these folks more reasons to rejoice.

The evening started with music from gospel singer Nicole Mullen and the Gaither Vocal Band. Then, Franklin Graham ended the night with another inspirational message of forgiveness. "I'm a sinner, I'm sorry for my sins, please forgive me!" Art and Betsy Knack attended a Billy Graham Crusade back in 1970 and jumped at the chance to watch his son's first event in Oklahoma. “The big difference with this one is the young people coming forward!"

But while the Graham's styles are different, Betsy says the messages are still the same. "No matter who we are, no matter what we've done in life God loves us and he's ready to forgive!" Boyd Smith: “been great, wonderful experience, good message, good music. It's uplifting!"

The overall cost of the three-day festival is said to be around $800,000. 60% of that was funded before the event started. Organizers aren't sure if offerings collected over the weekend will make up for the rest.