Sunday, October 3, 1999
If you are the reserved, conservative sort, then what I am about to tell you about may hold no appeal. However, if you are not above a little toe-tapping and hand-clapping to the beat of good old gospel music then you need to check out the Gospel Barn in LaGrange some time soon.
The next get-together is planned for Nov. 12 and 13. On stage will be The Isaacs, the Ruppes, Charles Johnson and The Revivers, The Kevin Spencer Family, The Singing Cookes, The Village Singers, Marcia Henry and Latter Rain, and Exalt. Of course they take turns. All groups are never on the stage at one time (at least, not to my knowledge, but I suppose anything could happen).
And don't eat before you head that way. Hoofers' Family Restaurant, which appears to anchor the whole setting, offers eats that are well worth the drive even if they never crank up the music I went to hear. When I was there they had an awesome seafood spread laid out for us to enjoy before the music.
Actually, I think I recall steak was on that buffet too. I definitely remember thinking that it would be hard to walk away hungry from all the choosings at Hoofers'. They also offer a menu and a concession stand in their desire to meet anyone's budget.
Just where is LaGrange and The Gospel Barn? About one hour south of Atlanta, 90 miles from Montgomery, 45 minutes from Columbus, two hours west of Macon and 25 minutes from my house. Atlantans should take I-85 south to exit 4, go west on Ga. Highway 109, turn right at the first red light (the water tower will be on your right), turn right again at the next red light on U.S. Highway 29. Watch for Hoofers' and The Gospel Barn on your right.
The location offers 110 RV sites with shower facilities. Gorgeous countryside beckons in any direction that you might want to drive during the day time hours. Just be sure you are back, refreshed and settled in your seat by 7 p.m. when the music kicks off.
Like I said, this kind of music and the setting (a converted cattle auction site now climate controlled) is not for everybody, but I for one am elated to find it offered so close to where I live. I grew up on such music and you better believe I have sat in more than one starched and proper worship setting where more than one stare was leveled in my direction when I was the only one in the building tapping my foot. So, it is awesome to be able to enjoy such a relaxed presentation of gospel music that leaves you humming for days (weeks) afterwards.
Ah, yes, The Gospel Barn will find me there again. Oh, I was about the forget, they offer bluegrass concerts too. I have not checked out that scene yet, but I will. Scheduled to appear Nov. 5 and 6 are Lonesome River, Steel Faith, Seldom Scene, Avery Trace, Goldwing and Georgia Bound, Bullsboro, Brushfire, Heart String, Avalanchie, Southern Breeze, Jordan River, and Foggy Hollow.
Now, I'm not recommending the bluegrass gathering since I have not tried it yet. I'm just telling you it's there and I will tell you that whereas there were less than a dozen RV's on hand for the gospel blowout in September, I am told that it is wise to reserve a hookup in advance if you want to RV it to the bluegrass happening.
I'm not too clear on the history, but I was told that it all started a few years ago in a small barn across the street from the present location. On that decisive night, 35 people got together for an evening gospel singing. There a dream took form and the idea for a weekend of family oriented entertainment was born.
General admission to the singing varies, so call ahead to inquire about rates and/or to reserve a seat. I think RV hook-up is just $15 for two days and camping in the rough is free (though space is limited). Call 706-885-9300 or 1-800-844-6737 for information.
Perhaps I will see you in LaGrange in November.