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Monday, July 16, 2007

Luis Palau Festival Rocks the Heartland

Contact Ann Peterson at 402-397-7158
Or Craig Chastain at 503-939-5535
Luis Palau welcomes crowd of 55,000+ to opening day of Heartland Festival in Omaha

OMAHA, NE (ANS) -- The largest faith celebration ever presented in Nebraska wrapped Sunday night, July 15th, at the Qwest Center Omaha grounds after two days of the Luis Palau Heartland Festival. Event organizers set the weekend attendance at close to 105,000 people.

Andrew Palau greets TobyMac on the Heartland Festival stage

The team of world evangelist and author Luis Palau joined with over 275 churches, dozens of local and national businesses, and more than 6,000 volunteers to bring the faith festival to the Heartland. Some of the top entertainers in country, pop, gospel and contemporary Christian music performed, including TobyMac, Jeremy Camp, Kirk Franklin, Salvador, Mandisa, Building 429, KJ52, Matt Maher, Heartland and El Trio de Hoy.

Palau’s festival format also featured the Livin It Action Sports Tour with skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross, as well as a family fun and sports zone. A family services component offered free health exams and other services provided by close to 90 community care providers.
Livin It pro Jud Heald sails with his “Jesus board” at Heartland Festival

A comprehensive shuttle system transported thousands of attendees from stations all around the Omaha/Council Bluffs area; thousands more traveled to the festival from neighboring states, the South and the upper Midwest.

A food drive collected close to 30,000 pounds of food that will be distributed to 14 regional food banks.
A Habitat for Humanity home was built in partnership with the festival, and the keys were presented to the recipient family by Luis Palau during ceremonies Sunday night.

Heartland MC Lindsey West prays
with Andrew Palau

Palau, whose team has worked with local and regional churches, parishes and businesses for several years, was thrilled with the response to the festival.

“It was a glorious celebration,” he said. ‘The cooperation and unity of the churches, city officials, business and civic leaders was spectacular. We’re confident that, with God’s grace, the spirit of unity and purpose that was borne out of the festival will continue in the Heartland for years to come.”

The $1.75 million festival budget was funded entirely by contributions from corporations, churches, businesses and individuals under the leadership of co-chairs John and Wende Kotouc, a “community cabinet” of local leaders, and Honorary Chair and legendary football coach Tom Osborne. No collections or offerings are ever taken at Palau festivals.

Diversity was a principal focus for festival planners who engaged Omaha’s substantial minority communities at many levels. Outreach luncheons and other activities were held prior to festival weekend, and the bi-lingual Palau also gave his presentation in Spanish. Active and veteran military were honored at festival ceremonies and at a special luncheon for servicemen and women and their families.

Palau’s next U.S. project is in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend when he participates in Celebrate Freedom Atlanta™ with Luis Palau. The Oregon-based Luis Palau Association has brought the Gospel message to over 25 million people face-to-face in 70 countries. Luis Palau's daily radio broadcasts are heard by tens of millions of listeners on 2600+ radio stations in 42 nations. Since 1999, his festivals have reached over 6.5 million people.

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