Ichthus announces new initiatives on last day of festival

rcopley@herald-leader.comJune 23, 2012 

The first Ichthus Festival to take place in the summer came to a scorching close Saturday, with fans finding ways to beat the heat.

Members of the band Icon for Hire wandered the midway giving fans water-gun showers while inviting them to their show. Water balloon fights broke out, and no one seemed to mind taking a hit.

Unlike last year, when Ichthus ended with dire financial news, the 43rd annual festival ended with announcements of new initiatives, including a New Year's Eve concert with marquee Christian artists in Dayton, Ohio; a new online TV channel at Ichthus.org; and mission initiatives in Lexington and Appalachia.

Nevertheless, festival director Mark Vermilion appealed for donations and said the organization still seeks to sell the festival site.

Attendance was down slightly from last year's 15,500, Vermilion said. He attributed the decline in part to the event's being held a week later than usual to avoid competition with some other Christian music festivals in the region.

Next year, Vermilion said, Ichthus will move back to its usual Father's Day weekend slot, June 12 to 15.

Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog: copiousnotes.bloginky.com.

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