Summer is the season of festivals. There are county fairs, back-to-school fairs and food festivals; but there is nothing quite like the unique WOW Festival, which serves as a combination of all of these, that was held at Tod Park in East Chicago, Ind. on Aug. 2.


WOW Fest, which stands for Working Outside the Walls Festival, is an annual gospel celebration held by the Greater Destiny Bible Church (GDBC) in East Chicago. This year marked the church’s eighth celebration. The festival included activities, entertainment and information booths for East Chicago residents of all ages.


Each year, WOW Fest begins with a church service held at GDBC. This year, the service took place at 11 a.m. and the festival in the park ran from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.


One of the highlights of this year’s fest was a performance by acclaimed Gospel musician James Fortune. Other performers included Eden’s Creation, Sista Praise and several local ministry groups.


In addition to the fun activities like live music, the three on three basketball tournament, numerous vendors offering free food and the Kids Zone, the festival provided attendees with free health and back-to-school items. Families received free haircuts and braids, school supplies, immunizations and information from the booths in the Health Carnival.


The fest also offered a Senior Tent with information, games and massages for those 65 and older.


Although WOW Fest started as a smaller activity eight years ago, the celebration now benefits thousands of Northwest Indiana residents and receives funding, services and supplies from many local organizations such as the Foundations of East Chicago, NIPSCO and the School Board of East Chicago.


For more information on what happened at the 2015 WOW Fest, connect with Greater Destiny Bible Church on Facebook.