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The “Big Stage” returns to the Historic Canton Square for the annual "CANTON GOSPEL FEST HOMECOMING" on Saturday, July 4th   beginning at 6:00 pm.  This event is hosted by the Black Heritage Committee, which celebrates 21 years as an organization. The Black Heritage Committee is an affiliate of the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau& Film Office. This Homecoming concert is FREE and expected to attract thousands from around the state and abroad.   
Headlining this year’s Gospel Homecoming is Sunday’s Best 2012 Finalist, recording artist and hometown favorite, ASHFORD SANDERS.  Ashford is one of the brightest constellations in the Gospel music stratosphere. From an early age, it was evident that this young man was destined for great success. After 3 unsuccessful auditions, Ashford landed a slot on the BET Sunday Best competition show. Sanders easily won over the judges and gained a loyal nationwide following with his heartfelt delivery, inimitable charm and stage presence. Impressed with the Sanders swag, Sunday Best host Kirk Franklin cajoled the audience into "doing the Ashford," creating a new dance phenomenon. Fans and friends were stunned when he was eliminated from the competition. Nevertheless, Sanders used the frustration to fuel his faith. Today, strengthened and renewed in spirit, Ashford Sanders uses every chance he is given to inspire and encourage others during his many visits to churches, concert halls, college campuses and auditoriums across the country.

The rest of the story is currently being written. In February, Ashford released his debut single, Because You've Been Good on the Fountain of Life record label produced by Pharis Evans, Jr. In an effort to give back to the community, Sanders hosted the first of his quarterly Mississippi Got Talent Showcases highlighting the best and brightest talent in the state in the month of March. Always being Ashford, he stopped for a meal in an IHOP restaurant in Jackson at the end of April and was greeted by some fans who requested him to sing, and he did. The video of Ashford Sanders singing in IHOP today has been seen over 4.5 million times. Sanders continues to tour and anticipates the release of his debut project in early fall, and the best is yet to come.

Also featured will be Malaco Recording Artist The Expressions of Faith of Jackson, MS.

This year's impressive line-up includes local artists such as, Shelly Greer, The Brothers In Christ, Divine Encounter, Shemar & Quan Books and The EnPsalmble.                                                                                               
The Canton Gospel Fest Homecoming is an event designed to celebrate the music and culture of Canton Mississippi and to showcase the talent that has come out of the Canton area. Co-sponsors for the Gospel Fest Homecoming include The Canton Convention Visitors Bureau & Film Office, The City of Canton and Canton Municipal Utilities and others.

Produced by Canton's own, Cynthia Goodloe Palmer, this celebration is FREE and open to the public. “Bring the entire family along with all out-of- town guests. I am so excited to produce this year’s Gospel Fest Homecoming for the fourth year for my hometown of Canton.  Bringing back the big stage and working with the Black Heritage Committee and the Canton Convention Visitors Bureau & Film Office staff will ensure that all in attendance will be able to "GET THEIR PRAISE ON" said Cynthia.

Sponsors include the Canton Convention Visitors Bureau & Film Office, The City of Canton and Canton Municipal Utilities The performances will begin at 6 p.m. Bring a lawn chair.  For more information, please contact the Canton Convention Visitors Bureau & Film Office at 800-844-3369.