STOCKBRIDGE — A collection of food trucks and sidewalk vendors gathered at City Hall late Friday afternoon to fire-up their grills and set up tents with merchandise for sale in anticipation of drawing innumerable visits from the crowd forming to hear live music at the Praise on the Lawn Concert.

The concert and all the festive trimmings were set to kick-off Bridge Fest, a two-day festival of fun, food, competitions, and music that was held by the city government under the backdrop of the nearby Martin Luther King Sr. Bridge.

A steady stream of concert goers began to fill the lawn area, beginning at the rear where they unfolded their lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and anchored their refreshment coolers to take advantage of the sprawling shade trees that surrounded the entertainment field.

Politicians were on hand to greet visitors and many of their volunteers mingled through the crowd to offer fans for visitors to keep as cool as the temperatures would permit.

“This is our ninth consecutive year of celebrating Bridge Fest,” beamed Cie Cie McGhee, events manager, “but it’s our first year of holding the Praise on the Lawn Concert.” This event was added to the Bridge Fest lineup in recognition of September as Gospel Music Heritage Month, McGhee added.

The music of Maxine Marks ignited a potent lineup of music and song that was continued by the Stockbridge Assembly Praise Team, Light of the World Christian Church, Reggie Boone, Destiny Christian Center, Reginald Jordan, James Jackson and Atlanta Praise, and closed out by Isaac Caree. Praise 102.5 Radio Personality K.D. Bowe served as master of ceremony.

A highlight of the celebration was the presentation of Gospel Music Heritage Month “Community Leader” awards that were presented on stage during the concert to city officials and noted community leaders.

Applause and cheers could be heard in response to each musical performance as it was concluded on stage.

“We were successful for our first time holding this event,” McGhee said. “We had to compete with the afternoon traffic and other events that happen on a Friday. But, we knocked this one out of the park!”

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