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Celebrating Sunday on Saturday

Jun 14, 2004

What a great weekend this was in Winona Lake, Indiana!

It was the annual “Billy Sunday Festival” when the town celebrates one of its most famous former residents–evangelist Billy Sunday (1862-1935). It is estimated that the former professional baseball player preached to over 100 million people and had over one million converts to Christ in his meetings.

Saturday’s visitors strolled through the restored historic Village at Winona and enjoyed carriage rides, Billy Sunday memorabilia and postcard collections, free tours of the Billy Sunday Home, displays and films at the Billy Sunday Museum, displays on Homer Rodeheaver and Rodeheaver-Hall-Mack Music Company at the Reneker Museum of Winona History, live music (bluegrass, banjo, strolling musicians), autograph-signing by authors who have written books on Billy Sunday, and a vintage Base Ball tourney using rules and customs from the 1860s.

A special highlight was a professional touring program, entitled “Sunday in Manhattan.” There were three performances of this one-man musical retrospective of Sunday’s life. The creator/performer was Brent Grosvenor, a delightful young Assemblies of God musician and actor who was raised on an Indian reservation in Idaho, the product of an alcoholic and broken home.

At intermission of the “Sunday in Manhattan” program, retired Grace College music professor Don Ogden and former Rodeheaver composer/arranger Roland Felts led a short program of some of Rodeheaver’s best-known gospel songs.

Next year’s Billy Sunday Festival will be Saturday, August 6, 2005. Here are some photos of this year’s event.