More than 5,000 gospel lovers converged on the Charles County Fairgrounds Saturday for an "All Day Gospel Festival" at which three divas and a collection of quartets performed.

"How many people feel like praising the Lord?" gospel recording artist Vickie Winans asked before she launched into her 45-minute segment of the program.

Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Tommy Ellison, the Five Singing Stars, and the Gospel Keynotes were among the national recording artists to perform, along with Dallas comedienne Trina Jeffrie, "Sister Cantaloupe."

For some adults, the 12-hour concert was a chance to savor the music of their youth, and for local performers, it was an opportunity to be showcased on a big stage. For many small children, it was a chance to enjoy a carnival, ride a pony and play while mom or dad wasn't very far away.

The event was the first big effort of Best Gospel Promoters, a group of young professionals from Southern Maryland who want to promote gospel music.

CAPTION: Above, singer Vickie Winans was one of the highlight performers at the gospel festival Saturday. At right, comedienne Trina Jeffrie, "Sister Cantaloupe," from Dallas, entertains crowds at the Charles County Fairgrounds.

CAPTION: Concertgoer Michael Braham, 9, of Alexandria, dances at the gospel festival Saturday.