Monday, July 13, 2009


this is a very media-heavy post. hence the reason it's taken me a little while to get it pulled together, and of course--there are more pictures on flickr.

so, thursday afternoon we left for kingsfest, a 3 day christian concert series at kings dominion near richmond, va. we took the ever-reliable bus, which actually pretty comfortable with the cool breezes and overcast skies. there was also a 15 passenger van pulling our luggage trailer and a couple of SUVs in tow. of course, we started off with a group prayer...
and managed to make it to richmond without too many issues, traffic or otherwise. at one of our stops, i noticed this unique beverage and had to take a picture in pure wonder--sparkling green tea with ginger ale?
needless to say, i wasn't brave enough to try it.

we stopped at mcdonald's for a quick dinner before hitting the park for the first night of concerts, and as we came back out to the bus and prepared to leave... she wouldn't start. we quickly got all of the kids shuttled over to the park on the other vehicles while the chaperones sat around and did what we do best... killed time on our cellphones.
eventually, we did make it over to the park, leaving the bus behind in the capable hands of some of the parents who came along, who were quickly calling mechanics in the area. the bus's battery had already been replaced, and it was eventually determined it was an alternator problem. we were also able to borrow a bus from the church where we were staying to shuttle us home that evening (and eventually to the park the next morning while our bus was getting fixed.) the rest of our group made it over in time for a quick ride on a rollercoaster and then over to watch the last two concerts of the evening.
rather than adding more pictures than i already did, i made a collage of some of my favorite band photos. we saw five full concerts while we were there, with relient k the first night, skillet and switchfoot the 2nd night, and david crowder band and newsboys the 3rd night. there were many other bands that performed, but with concerts starting at 3 and going until 10 every night, it just wasn't possible to see them all!
relient k was awesome, with lots of energy and a sound similar (in my opinion) to ben folds. i hadn't heard a lot of them before, but i recognized several songs and have them on my itunes list to get a few more.
skillet is a favorite among the youth group, and honestly, they have an edgier sound than what i typically listen to. however, watching the crowd react to them and listening to their lyrics, i appreciated their style of music and the fact that it appeals to a group that might not get excited over chris tomlin or other "happy, shiny" christian artists. they rocked out and had the crowd rocking with them, and i thought it was so great that these tough looking guys with tattoos, these punk teens, people who you wouldn't normally think of as those who "enjoy christian music"-- were jumping up and down, head-banging and jamming out to some awesome music with quality lyrics. and that was cool to me.
(they do have a violinist and cellist in the group, with some killer string sections in their songs, especially when they're being raised up on platforms--top row, left photo)
switchfoot is probably one of the better known "mainstream" bands that played. john foreman, their lead singer, was so entertaining and made an appearance out in the audience that had everyone rushing down to the front (bottom middle photo in the collage.) he also climbed on top of their huge speakers, twice (bottom right photo) and put on a great show with lots of their hit songs and some new stuff.
david crowder band was one of the main reason i came to kingsfest. i saw him perform before in greenville and loved the concert. it was probably one of the few concerts we saw that felt like worship--and that's what crowder does best. lots of audience involvement with singing and moving, and just some of the best praise music around. he brought out his specially-made guitar hero guitar, complete with the mario brothers "coin sound button" (left photo on 3rd row) and played a whole song on it. amazing!
and finally, newsboys. i remember going to see newboys in middle school and the drummer who played on a revolving platform. honestly, i hadn't heard much of them since then, but they just got a new lead singer who used to be the lead singer of dc talk (of "jesus freak" fame) and with that--we had songs from both groups that took me way back. they do have some new stuff out, but it was awesome to hear some of their older songs--and they came out into the audience for that set, too, for that (middle photo on the 3rd row.)

so, that's the concerts. now... the rides!

kings dominion reminded me a lot of carowinds (that we visited around this time last year following alan and rachel's wedding)--an older park with some new rides, but very little cohesion between the rides and the "themed" areas. it's just a hodge podge of stuff that hung around for the past thirty years, with some newer thrill rides thrown in to keep the coaster riders happy. they also just recently lost the paramount affiliation and joined in with cedar fair (cedar point's company) so a lot of their rides that had movie themes are now just kinda randomly named. but they do have a decent waterpark included, and between that and the fact that there were long lines, we had plenty to do to fill up two full days in the park.
one of my favorite coasters was the "flight of fear" which was an indoor coaster that used magnetic energy to blast you off into an almost completely dark ride. kinda like "space mountain," only with loops and corkscrew turns. i videoed kristi and her sister kara taking off for their ride.

saturday, we did a few last minute rides on the less-popular coasters and then spent the afternoon in the waterpark. before heading out for our last dinner, my small group of kids i had collected decided to take the elevator up the eiffel tower in the center of the park. i got some nice shots from up top and used picnik to point out a few of the landmarks.
and finally, the group shot. this is everyone who came with us, including kids, sponsors and parents. we are so grateful for the parents who came along to help! with their hard work, we only had to pay for the two meals on our travel days. the rest were prepared by the parents and then they helped us pack bag lunches to take in the park with us. also, with the bus situation, they gave up their own time to help get the bus fixed and make sure we had a safe ride home. and just in general, they're awesome. so--thanks, parents!

there are no picture from the last day. i like to think of it as "the day we'd prefer to forget." we stayed at fairmount christian church in mechanicsville, va, and they were wonderful hosts. we camped out in spare rooms at night and showered in their locker room facilities next to their gymnasium. we planned on staying for worship on sunday morning, but we had to be packed up and out by 8 am. this meant getting the kids up around 6:30, having all of their things in the trailer and making sure they ate breakfast by then. we had some time to kill, so the guys were outside playing basketball (even though we were all exhausted!) and one of our sponsors, billy, dunked the ball during a game of HORSE and came down on his ankle wrong. next thing you know, he's headed to the ER with a fractured ankle. at the same time, one of my girls informs me that she's been throwing up all morning and hasn't been able to keep anything down. we decide to do our own short devo, join the 9:30 service for songs and make it through communion--then load up the bus and van to start the drive home. many stops and 5 hot, long hours later--we finally get home.
i got a shower and crashed, doing nothing productive for the rest of the night. it was a great trip, but man, it wore me out! i loved spending that time with the sponsors and our awesome group of teenagers. they really did well for a trip with such unstructured time away from adults and the number of check-ins that we had them doing.

so, now it's back to the grindstone. and getting ready for my brief trip up to west virginia for the livengood family reunion (justin's mom's family.) another long car ride, but i'm excited to get some mountain time in.

now--what did you do this weekend?


  1. Looks like you had a great time! I live 30 minutes away from there!

  2. Great summed it up well! And, you're fantastic! :) love you Lauren!