Friday, August 23, 2013 , Updated 12:00 p.m., August 29, 2013
MegaFest brings faith and family fun to downtown Dallas
It's a whole weekend's worth of events including a film festival and age-appropriate workshops.
DALLAS Some 50,000 people are expected to converge on downtown Dallas for Bishop T.D. Jakes’ MegaFest, and from the roster of guest speakers and artists, it seems like most of them are celebrities.
Want a dose of Oprah Winfrey? Got her. Inspiration from pastors such as Jakes, Joel and Victoria Osteen, Marvin Sapp, Creflo Dollar, Chris Durso, Bishop I.V. Hilliard, and others? They’ll be here. Entertainment superstars like comedian Cedric the Entertainer, Jennifer Hudson, and Babyface? Yep.
The supersized event, running August 28-31 (most activities are August 29-31) brings together four of Jakes’ most popular conferences: ManPower, Woman Thou Art Loosed, MegaYouth, and MegaKidz. It also features a Family Expo; the International Faith and Family Film Festival; empowerment sessions on education, relationships, entrepreneurship and finances; and morning fitness sessions at Klyde Warren Park and other outdoor venues (check the website or program for details). Speakers from Regent University of Virginia Beach, Va., and the United Negro College Fund are among those whom attendees will get to hear.
You’ll want to eat your Wheaties just to look at the schedule, much less attend the events. The weekend promises to be exhilarating, inspiring, and exhausting, but in that totally “oh, that was great” kind of way. Package prices are $75-$499.
Although his 30,000-member Potter’s House church and humanitarian organization is based in Dallas, this is the first time that Jakes has brought MegaFest to the city. MegaFest debuted in 2004 in Atlanta and also took place there in 2005 and 2006, then moved in 2008 to Johannesburg. More than 700,000 people have attended the show in its four incarnations.
Now it’s Big D’s turn. “Now is the time for Dallas,” Jakes told us in an email. “The addition of the Omni hotel in conjunction with improved transportation, new attractions like the Perot Museum, Klyde Warren Park and the growth of the Arts District make downtown Dallas an attractive destination. Downtown has enough venues capable of handling a MegaFest-sized crowd and keeping them entertained now.
“Dallas has so much potential and promise. Big things happen here. I raised my children in Dallas, my church is based here and I’m excited to have the viable option to bring MegaFest to Dallas.”
Here’s a look at the four conferences:
ManPower: It’s aimed at helping “men discover their God-given identity, gifts and talents” through spiritual teaching. Speakers include Jakes — called “America’s best preacher” by Time magazine in 2001 — E. Dewey Smith Jr., Sapp, the Osteens, and Dollar. Gospel artists such as Wess Morgan, Byron Cage, Earnest Pugh, and Fred Hammond & United Tenors will perform.
Woman Thou Art Loosed: This conference began in 1992 as a Sunday School curriculum by Jakes to encourage women to “find support and hope in one another and God as they become stronger leaders in their families, churches, communities and businesses.” Speakers include Jakes and his wife, Serita; Sheryl Brady; Jasmin Sculark; and Hilliard. The Jakes’ daughter, Sarah, will sign her debut book Colliding With Destiny: A 30-Day Journey Through the Book of Ruth on August 30 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Literary Cafe at AAC as part of W.T.A.L.
MegaYouth: This one is aimed at “New Millennials” and aims to help youths engage and join together while “getting the tools needed in order to let their faith shine through their individuality.” Speakers include Jakes, Dharius Daniels, John Gray, and Durso. Artists set to perform include Jonathan McReynolds, the Walls Group, and Da’Truth, in addition to those singing at the MYE CODE (Confession, Opinion, Devotion, Engage) Concert.
MegaKidz: Children 5 to 12 can enjoy wholesome entertainment and more as part of this chance to connect with other children from around the U.S. and the world. There’ll be video games, contests, bounce houses, and other activities aimed at “stimulating their minds as well as their hearts.” To assure the safety of attendees, adults other than screened staff and volunteers are not allowed in the MegaKidz areas.
The Faith and Family Film Festival could be a mega-event all on its own, showcasing projects such as Black Nativity, a movie adaptation of a Langston Hughes play, starring Forest Whitaker (whose current film Lee Daniels’ The Butler, also starring Winfrey, will also be screened), Angela Bassett and Jacob Latimore; Winnie Mandela starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard; and Heaven Is for Real, a real-life story about a young boy who claims to have visited the afterlife. Works from BET and other films from around the world will also be discussed or shown.
Film-fest attendees can also look forward to keynote speeches including one hosted by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, and panel discussions moderated by speakers such as Mary Claire Kendall of Forbes magazine, Kirstin Wilder of Variety, Sarah Pulliam Bailey of The Wall Street Journal, and Kevin Frazier of the OMG! Insider television show. The panels will cover topics such as “Marketing Within the Faith-Based Community,” “Getting Your Film/TV Production Launched,” and “The Rise of Digital Filmmaking, Distribution and Marketing.”
“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in life, everyone is looking for answers,” Jakes says in a press release.
“Whether you come on your own or with family and friends, one thing is for sure: People attending MegaFest will find joy, fun, great music, encouraging community and powerful messages of inspiration, hope and purpose.”
Just remember to eat your Wheaties.
INFORMATION AND HIGHLIGHTSVisit mega-fest.com for tickets, more activities, specific times and room locations, and last-minute updates. Tickets cost $75 for Woman Thou Art Loosed and ManPower packages, $20 for MegaYouth (ages 13-18) and MegaKidz (ages 5-12) packages. MegaVantage packages cost $90 for youths (includes youth concert, comedy show, the Ball Up event and the Women of Purpose concert) and $499 for adults (includes all of the above, plus Oprah’s Lifeclass). Family and group packages are also available. Most events are at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (KBH), formerly Dallas Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St., downtown Dallas, or American Airlines Center (AAC), 2500 Victory Ave., just north of downtown Dallas.
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