OMAHA, Nebraska — 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.
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.
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.
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.