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Creation descends on Enumclaw Expo

Enumclaw will be hopping for the next few days, as thousands of people descend upon the Expo Center grounds for Creation 2013.

Creation’s four-day run begins today, Wednesday, and concludes Saturday.

Annually billed as the largest Christian music festival in the nation, Creation treats guests to dozens of musical acts – covering all genres – during its run. Sprinkled throughout are seminars, movies, crafts for kids and exhibits. Believers will also find a prayer tent and water baptism.

Music is a near-constant feature of Creation, which boasts headline acts on the Main Stage, featuring some of the top performers in the world of contemporary Christian music. Additionally, there’s a Fringe Stage with its up-and-coming acts; fun and games on the Kids Stage, Late-Night Stage with dance parties, comedy acts and acoustic performers; and a talent search on the Indie Stage.

Creation came to Enumclaw for the first time in 2010 following a 12-year run at the rural Gorge Amphitheatre east of the Cascades. Organizers were looking for a venue that would provide easier access for Interstate 5 travelers, plus closer proximity to city amenities.

Creation attendees pay $49 for a single day, $77 for a two-day ticket or $120 for a full-event pass. But those who want to make the most of the experience can write a much bigger check: a Gold Star ticket runs $900 and offers a bundle of benefits; or, for $1,500, a guest gets all the Gold Star benefits, plus VIP camping. There are a variety of other upgrades available involving access to music, tent camping and RV sites.

Creation provides a financial boost to the community, as many attendees stay for the entire run of the event, needing to buy food and gasoline.

Creation debuted in 1979 in Lancaster, Pa., the brainchild of the Rev. Harry Thomas. When the summertime concert proved to be a hit in the east, a similar experience was planned for the west. The Gorge was the only site used until the decision to come to Enumclaw.

While Creation’s stay in Enumclaw has largely been a success – one negative is the city hears complaints from neighbors about nighttime noise – the annual summer attraction could be making its last hurrah on the Plateau.

Interim City Administrator Chris Searcy confirmed Creation management sent a “letter of termination” early this year. The city and Creation have operated on a continuing contract with each side required to provide notice 14 months in advance if the contract is to be voided. But Creation’s legal maneuver doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the Christian festival in Enumclaw, Searcy said. He hopes the two sides will sit down following this year’s event to see if a new understanding can be reached.

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