ANTIOCH -- The International Day of Peace Celebration has grown from dozens of attendees to hundreds of visitors over the past four years.
"The message that there will only be peace on earth when the religions of the world can get along seems to be resonating," said Walter Ruehlig, event coordinator.
The event will run Friday to Sunday, culminating with the headlining Interfaith Youth Peace Concert at Antioch's Seventh-day Adventist Sanctuary.
Hosted by the Antioch-based Interfaith Peace Project in honor of the U.N.-sponsored International Day of Peace, the concert will feature East County Idol winners, Deer Valley High's Divine Voices, Antioch Church Family, Sikh Community, Sufism Reoriented, LDS Stake Youth Choir and the Hilltop Christian School hand bell ensemble and choir.
According to Ruehlig, the International Day of Peace was adopted by the U.N. in 1981, while Antioch brought it to life in 2003.
In that time, the event has drawn about 1,000 attendees.
Ruehlig hopes at least 400 folks will join in this year over the course of the weekend, which includes a Friday night prayer and reflection at the Interfaith Peace Center for the safety of the children of the world, a Saturday prayer and dedication of a Peace Pole at the Islamic Center of the East Bay and then the Sunday youth concert.
"Every aspect of the weekend has its fascination, but I am especially fond of the concert because of the incredible talent on display and because their lack of resistance to diversity gives me hope for the future," Ruehlig said.
"I will never forget the end of the 2012 concert when kids from various faith groups and races all came on stage to close the show with 'We are the World ...' (And, there was) the Native Americans doing a ceremonial dance around the peace pole we planted."
Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net.
What: Interfaith Youth Peace Concert
When: 5-7 p.m. Sept. 22
Where: Seventh-Day Adventist Sanctuary, 2200 Country Hills Drive, Antioch
Info: 925-756-7628; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org