Gospel singing, BBQ under way in Columbus

Published 2:26 pm Tuesday, July 1, 2008

For the 35th year in a row, organizers are presenting four nights of gospel music and great food at the Columbus Fire Department and the adjoining Columbus Veteran&squo;s Park in downtown Columbus.

Music begins at 7 p.m. each night, beginning tonight and continuing through Thursday, July 3.

The fire department will be serving hot dogs, hamburgers, and BBQ sandwiches along with chips and drinks throughout the night. The money raised will go toward the fire department&squo;s special projects.

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The event has grown into one of Polk County&squo;s most well attended events and has an average attendance of 700 to 1,000 people each night.

According to a survey taken at the 2007 event, people from nearly 10 nearby Carolina counties and six other states attended the BBQ and Gospel Sing.

Admission to the music is free and will feature nationally known artists such as Mike Upright, who currently has a song, &dquo;Tell Me Again,&dquo; in Southern Gospel&squo;s Top 40 charts.

The lineup also includes Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Naomi and the Sego&squo;s, and the Watkins Family, which has two nominations (best female artist and Impact Award) in the &dquo;Singing News Magazine&dquo;&squo;s Front Porch Bluegrass Music Awards.

Also performing are groups such as the Phillips Family, the King James Boys, Atkins Family, Green River Boys, The Jason Camp Family, The Jimmy Justice Family and others.

Thursday night will conclude with a patriotic grand finale with the Polk Baptist Association choir led by Krista Haynes.

The Columbus Veteran&squo;s Memorial Park and the Columbus Fire Department are located at the intersection of Ward and Blanton streets in Columbus.

In case of rain, the event will be held at Columbus Baptist Church.

For more information, call WJFJ radio 1160 am (which will broadcast the event live each night) at 828-894-5858.