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Massive crowd at CityFest pays homage to Rich DeVos

Organizers anticipate around 10,000-15,000 people will attend the festival over the weekend.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Thousands of Christians congregating near downtown Grand Rapids for CityFest included late Amway co-founder Rich DeVos in the festival’s opening prayer Saturday, honoring his service to the city.

This was like Mr. DeVos' final gift to Grand Rapids, said Evangelist Andrew Palau. He and his father Luis headlined the festival, a non-denominational celebration of Christianity supported by more than 430 churches and ministries in the area.

“Here in the Western Michigan area, the churches love one another,” Andrew said. “They serve together, and every once in a while, they want to do something in a unified capacity just to express that reality to the broader community.”

The last time Luis Palau held an event in Grand Rapids was 1994. He and Rich DeVos maintained a friendship since then and worked together on CityFest before DeVos died Thursday, Sept. 6.

“[Rich] said, ‘Luis before we go we gotta do one more thing for the city,’” Andrew said. “You know, Mr. DeVos always said about Grand Rapids—that it was the center of the universe."

Before praying at the festival, Luis joked, “I thought, oh no, he said, ‘Luis is coming to the city, I’m out of here.’” Andrew said DeVos’ heart reflected the heart of a believer.

“We want everyone to be ready for eternity,” he said. “Mr. DeVos is there. He wanted box seats, I guess. So he’s going to see it from the best view up there.”

CityFest opened Saturday at Ah-Nab-Awen Park with multiple musical acts and activities for children like rock climbing and gaga ball. The festival continues Sunday with music starting at 4 p.m.

►Related: Justin Bieber in Grand Rapids for CityFest

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