Illumination is in its 13th year


GREENVILLE – The 13th annual Illumination Festival: Light in the Darke will be held Sept. 21 at the Darke County Fairgrounds. This year’s headliner is Jeremy Camp and he will be joined by I Am They, Micah Tyler, 321 Improv, Dan Bremnes and Elle Limebear for an evening of uplifting contemporary Christian music. Gates for the main concert open at 4 p.m. and the concert begins at 5 p.m. in front of the Grandstand.

In addition to the main concert, the Illumination Festival also features a lot of fun activities throughout the afternoon. Midway activities and food truck open at noon and the great music from regional artists can be heard from the Coffee House stage. Some of this year’s midway activities include inflatables, high ropes course, rock wall, and laser tag. There is a small fee to enjoy some of the midway activities.

Marty McCabe, president of the Illumination Festival committee, explained how this event got started 13 years ago, “Connie (Marty’s wife) and I used to do smaller events. We used coffee house events in Fort Jefferson and we had concerts at other churches, Memorial Hall to a certain size. It seemed like we were ready to grow and do something bigger.” McCabe credited Pat Harless for being by his side during those early days and Harless continued his influence when Illumination began.

After discussing the idea with Daryl Riffle, who was the fair manager at the time, they decided to move forward and a committee was formed.

Is the event where McCabe would like it to be? Some aspects of the event are where he was hoping it would be, such as the activities in the afternoon for the kids. Other aspects have gone beyond his expectations. “I remember going to other festivals and thinking, wouldn’t it be neat to get so and so here. Mercy Me headlined, Crowder headlined different festivals. I always thought if we could get those artists here that would be a dream come true. So, I guess we met or exceeded that goal.”

The Illumination Festival is also the kick-off for the annual Feed Darke County food drive presented by Fish Choice Pantry. Representatives from Fish Choice Pantry will be at the main gate accepting donations of non-perishable food items. Illumination Festival does not charge for parking, but does ask for visitors to bring in food items for Fish to help fill the shelves of the food pantry.

Tickets for the main concert are $30 for grandstand (general admission) seating, $35 for access to the track, $35 for reserved (box seats), $40 track seats and $55 for VIP seats in front of the stage. Ticket prices will increase $5 on the day of the show. All tickets are available through or through Bread of Life in Greenville, Darke County Fairgrounds and the Christian Bookstore in Union City has grandstand tickets available.

Matt Maher performed during the 2018 Illumination Festival. Jeremy Camp returns to Darke County to headline this year’s event. Maher performed during the 2018 Illumination Festival. Jeremy Camp returns to Darke County to headline this year’s event. Ryan Berry |

By Ryan Berry

Contact Editor Ryan Berry at [email protected] or (937) 569-0066. Read more news, features and sports at

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