Ball Ground United Methodist Church is presenting the first annual Faith and Freedom Festival on Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m. at the Lion’s Club Baseball field on Gilmer Ferry Road.
Church members and community leaders are billing the day as a time of fun, music and worship leading up to the fireworks display at dark funded by the city.
Church pastor Jared Lathem said divine inspiration helped him come up with the idea to combine faith with the freedom celebration.
U.S. Congressman Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) will speak at 2:30 p.m.
One of the day’s highlights will be an 8 p.m. non-denominational worship service led by Lathem.
“I was sitting alone one day, and I believe God gave me the idea to have an outdoor worship service for the Fourth of July and to have fireworks,” Lathem said. “The church is putting this on and has gotten behind it, and we are excited about this.”
Lathem said that it just seems natural for Christians to show patriotism.
“It goes without saying that we are so blessed to live in this country, and we as Christians have a responsibility to set an example,” Lathem said. “This being election year, we are setting a course by who we vote for, but the real change that we all want, whether right or left, needs to happen within yourself, within your four walls and in your community.”
Lathem said the church and festival committee decided to host the event the Saturday before July 4 to give those who wanted to attend a celebration and fireworks display on a weekend night the opportunity.
Beginning at 1 p.m. the Freedom and Faith Festival will offer live music all day at the bandstand on home plate.
Ball Ground’s own Lost and Found, Surrender, Rock of Christ out of Atlanta, and Against the Downpour out of Madison, are confirmed, Lathem said.
Out on the field, there will be a jump zone and other activities for the kids, including water slide and dunk tank. Local products and services will be on display from local businesses.
Community churches and civic organizations in the areas around Ball Ground are invited to set up and meet the people.
“All day long we will have good old fashioned festival competitions like the three-legged race and horse shoe toss,” Lathem said.
Those attending can enter or enjoy a chili cook off and a Home Made Ice Cream competition.
Pizza and barbecue will be for sale for dinner, and snacks will be available all day long.
“As we prepare to celebrate the Independence of our great nation, come be reminded of what the Founders fought to win, and we’ve struggled for centuries to preserve,” Lathem said. “Come fellowship with your countrymen, praise the God who blessed our founding, and be reminded that no matter how far we come, Faith and Freedom still endure.”
For information go to www.faithandfreedomfestival.com.