The word "mega" means large, popular, successful -- all of which describe this week's MegaFest conference in Dallas. More than 80,000 people are expected to be in town looking for food, fun and activities. They have plenty to choose from, including more than a dozen workshops, shows, events and movie screenings, with MegaFest creator Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter's House using his acclaim to bring in celebrities, motivational speakers and pastors from around the world.
The 2013 Dallas event included Oprah, Scandal's Kerry Washington, comedian Cedric the Entertainer and singer Jennifer Hudson, and this year's festival has star power, too: David Oyelowo, Vincent Herbert, Boris Kodjoe, Nicole Ari Parker, Hill Harper, Dondre Whitfield, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Tasha Smith, Sidra Smith and Tika Sumpter, plus many musicians and comedians.
The mission of MegaFest is to empower, inspire and entertain, and here are a few ways to get the most of all three.
Woman Thou Art Loosed, ManPower, MegaYouth and MegaKids are a few of the topics offered. Each conference is based on gender and age and will have special musical guest and speakers, including pastor Joyce Meyer, who will speak at the women's conference, and Bishop Tudor Bismark, who will host the men's sessions and separate fun-filled sessions for kids and teens.
A Time to Laugh Comedy Show
Here's a chance to laugh until you cry. Hosted by veteran comedian and The Talk co-host Sheryl Underwood, this Aug. 20 show is sure to not disappoint. It also features comedians Lavell Crawford and Brandon T. Jackson and singers Tamar Braxton and Chrisette Michele, just to name a few.
'Madea on the Run'
Tyler Perry is bringing one of America's funniest characters back to the stage. Fans of Madea's witty, no-nonsense attitude will want to check out Perry's latest play.
The International Faith and Family Film Festival
Get a sneak peek of inspirational movies and some that touch on hot button current issues in America. Participants will not only get to see the films before they are released to the public, but they'll also hear from Hollywood stars and movie producers, including Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who will present one of the Morning Inspiration sessions, and Selma's David Oyelowo, who will attend the screening of his film Captive.
Get inspired to make the best of your situation and want more out of life. The awesome part about this conference is not only getting to enjoy entertainment, but really getting a message about financial independence, a plan for success and motivation to do better when you leave. Check the website for various speakers and breakout sessions.
MegaFest will also have an international choir showcase, a push for health and fitness titled Mega-Fit with Angela Davis, and the Mega-Chef Celebrity cook-off, which features celebrity chefs.
Amanda Fitzpatrick, Special Contributor