Despite a little bit of scattered rain, Bethel Baptist Church opened its doors to more than 3,000 people at this year's installment of Bethel Blast, an annual event that celebrates the founding of the church on July 4, 1851.

This church of less than 300 members served barbecue along with other foods to thousands of individuals and families who stopped by to enjoy live music, fellowship and a fireworks display. The evening's musical lineup included The McMillan family gospel singers, local groups Amantha Mill and Blue Country and the church's own praise and worship band, Bethel Road.

Bethel Baptist Church is located at 123 Mountain Dale Road in Sugar Grove and meets at the adjacent Bethel School on Sunday mornings for an 11 a.m. service. For more information, call the church at (828) 297-2694 or visit

Photos by Jessica Isaacs

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