DALLAS — Fifty-thousand people, $70 million in revenue, and dozens of celebrities; it’s all part of MegaFest.
It’s sort of like the Super Bowl of faith-based conferences.
"This is going to be a mega event," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
Rawlings, along with Bishop T.D. Jakes, launched MegaFest Wednesday morning at a news conference.
“We made it happen because we invested in the city. We've gotten ready for it," Rawlings said. "I'm not sure we were ready for it, but we are ready for it now."
MegaFest is the creation of Jakes, who pastors the Potter's House, the megachurch he started 17 years ago in southwest Dallas.
Bishop Jakes has hosted MegaFest in Atlanta and South Africa, but this is the first time in Dallas.
"I feel like I am part of the Dallas fabric, and I'm really ready to say, 'Y'all come and bring the people from around the world to a city that is near and dear to my heart,'" Bishop Jakes said in a one-on-one interview with News 8.
MegaFest includes workshops, concerts, health fairs, and educational events spread out over three days and multiple venues.
Jakes said 50 years ago Wednesday, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of his dream for equality and togetherness. Jakes said the festival embodies that.
"To be a beneficiary of the opportunities that I’ve had, and a celebration where all walks of life come together to worship and come together to have fun — it speaks to the progress that this nation has made," he said.
Oprah Winfrey will host two "life classes" for her OWN Network to kick off the event, which runs from Thursday through Saturday night.
The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau says hotels are full and they are expecting downtown to be very busy the rest of the week.
DART is bringing in extra workers and extending hours. Bus service will run until 2 a.m through the duration of the event.