People seeking relief from addiction will have nearly every resource imaginable available to them when Hope Over Heroin comes to the Highland County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro on Friday and Saturday.
Kim Davis, coordinator for the Highland County event, said people seeking treatment will be able to go straight from the event to a treatment facility.
“We have treatment beds immediately available. I don’t want to name the facility, but we’re going to be taking people straight from the event to treatment,” Davis said. “We’ll load them in a van right there at the fairgrounds and send them off.”
The gates open at 5 p.m. Friday and at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The main program starts about 7 p.m. both evenings.
Davis said the main event will unfold on a large stage with thousands of seats laid out in front of it. She said there will be live music, free food, testimonials from local residents that are in recovery, videos and more.
“It’s an elaborate stage with big TV screens on each side. It’s very state-of-the-art,” Davis said.
She said she expects 3,000-plus people to attend the event.
“That’s based on past Hope Over Heroin events,” Davis said. “We have drawn a tremendous amount of support and feedback. We have people coming from all over, even out of state.”
About 30 vendors have signed up to set up booths where they’ll be passing out literature and trying to help people with whatever they need.
Friday’s activities will begin with prayer walk at 5:30 p.m.
“We’ll be remembering those in our own community who have passed away due to overdose. It’s a very somber event,” Davis said.
The main event follows at 7 p.m. Singing will stop at 9 p.m. and will be followed by baptisms. During the main event, Davis said there will be a call to prayer for those that want to dedicate their lives to Christ. She said there will be “alter people” who will look for people in the crowd indicating they want help. She said the alter people will become a mentor for anyone the come in contact with the rest of the night and will help determine whether that person wants to be connected with a church, inpatient or outpatient treatment, wants to be baptized, or has some other need.
The same program will be repeated Saturday evening, although Davis said a possible addition to the schedule will be stunt motorcycle riders that will likely perform before the main events gets underway.
The free food will include hamburgers, chicken patties, chips, pop and water.
Davis said there will be seating available under large tents where people will be able to get out of the sun.
But the event will not completely conclude this weekend. There will be what Davis described as a “post event” at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 24 at Good News Gathering, located on U.S. Route 62 at the southern edge of Hillsboro.
“One of the things we don’t want to do is leave people empty,” Davis said.
Davis, who works as a drug and alcohol counselor at FRS, said one goal of the event organizers is to pour any money that may be left over back over into some type of facility for sober living.
“Hope Over Heroin is for people’s lives to be changed through Christ, to let them know that there is help for recovery, and that we are not bound by our past,” Davis said. “We want to thank the community for their support in helping us fight this epidemic and bringing hope for recovery to our community.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org