MARION — Each year, Jim Snider finds himself amazed at the number of people who have never heard about an annual event that brings dozens of gospel singers and fans into this area.
This year, he's getting the word out again about the upcoming Truthseeker's Homecoming, the 33rd annual event.
About 700 to 900 people are expected to attend each night of the event; some of these people have been attending for 15 to 30 years, Snider said.
"It is like being at church-camp meeting," he said. "You know it has to end after three days, but you don't want it to. That is why people look forward to (coming back). …This becomes like a Christian vacation for a lot of our attendees."
This year's revival and concerts run from March 15 to 17 and will be held at the Marion Civic Center; the concerts start at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets are $40 for all three nights, or $20 a night. Tickets at the door are $22.
This year's lineup includes the Collingsworth Family on Thursday, May 15; the Tribute Quartet and The McKameys on Friday, March 16; and Greater Vision, the Mark Trammell Quartet and Second Half Quartet on Saturday, March 17.
In addition to the concerts, there will be a prayer breakfast each morning at Lone Oak Baptist Church in Energy, and a lunch on Saturday ($10) before a free 1 p.m. concert featuring Aaron Wilburn.
There will also be a special Sunday morning service at Lone Oak Baptist Church, where music will be provided by the Mark Trammell Quartet and Trammell will preach.
It was 34 years ago that the homecoming started, when members of the Truthseeker's Quartet, who sang at church homecomings, wanted to invite those who had been at their church to come back and share with them at their own homecoming.
It began as a one-evening event, and then progressed on to two nights, before morphing into the three-night affair it is, Snider said. Over the years, it was also attracted enough people to outgrow its space, from John A. Logan College, where it started, to the Herrin Civic Center for about five years and then to the Marion Civil Center.
In the 1990s, organizers added the prayer breakfast, considered one of the favorite parts of the event, Snider said.
Since its founding, almost every major Southern gospel artist has graced the Truthseeker's Homecoming stage.
To purchase concert tickets, call 618-997-4030.