COCOLALLA — When Darla Fletcher first entered the 88-year-old barn at the former Cocolalla Corner, she knew immediately what she was going to name it.
"When I walked in, I said, 'This is going to be Barn Again," Fletcher said.
The Lord "dropped it in their laps," she said, and Barn Again is now a 12,000-square-foot event center. The first big event at Barn Again is this weekend — the Inland Northwest Freedom Fest.
In addition to the Freedom Fest, Fletcher said the Southside Community Church has booked the location for a community dance Oct. 6. Fletcher and her husband purchased the property in May, following the death of the previous owner. The house and barn on the property were built in 1930, and a log cabin, formerly an antique store, was built in 1980, said Fletcher, who has been researching the history of the property. Fletcher plans to open "Only Local" in the spring, which will be a grocery store carrying, of course, only local items.
Fletcher said she is "amazed" at the shape the barn is in, considering its age. The floor is mostly concrete, as the former owner wanted an area for roller skating. Fletcher has done some work to get the barn doors functioning properly, a commercial electrician put in new wiring and ran power outdoors for food vendors, a fire inspection has been done, among other updates.
The Freedom Fest is a two-day event, starting at 5 p.m. Friday with music by Susie McEntire — the sister of Reba McEntire — and gospel singer, songwriter and pianist Rebecca Huseby. The festivities will continue at 9 a.m. Saturday, with guest speakers throughout the day. The conference will feature nationally and locally renowned speakers and music from the Christian and patriotic communities, as well as food and fun for the whole family, event organizers said in a statement.
Some of the speakers include Pastor Dan Fisher, former Oklahoma House of Representatives District 60, governor candidate and presenter of “Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment”; David Barton, Christian political activist, best-selling author and founder of Wallbuilders, a national pro-family organization; Pastor Tim Remington, a prominent pastor from the Altar Church in Coeur d'Alene, and Rep. Heather Scott, a District 1 representative from Blanchard.
The first Inland Northwest Freedom Fest was held in September 2016, after the event was envisioned by Pastor Steve Bradshaw from the Cocolalla Cowboy Church. The purpose of the event, Bradshaw said in 2016, is to bring the Christian community together and promote the values of freedom and liberty on which the nation was founded. While the first Freedom Fest was a success, Bradshaw said they were unable to pull one together for 2017.
"I'm excited," Bradshaw said of the Freedom Fest returning for 2018. "I'm excited about who is going to be here and the different speakers."
Tickets are $20, and free for children 10 and under. Barn Again is located at 464138 Highway 95, between Encoder Products and the Cocolalla post office.
For tickets, vendor and other information, visit inlandnwfreedomfest.com.
• 5-9 p.m. - Christian country concert featuring Susie McEntire and Rebecca Huseby
• 9 a.m. - Prayer, pledge and worship
• 9:15 a.m. - Steve Bradshaw, "Founding Fathers, Faith, and the Bible"
• 10 a.m. - Steve Brown, "Ultimate Freedom in Christ"
• 11 a.m. - Tim Remington, "The Miraculous Power of God"
• Noon-1 p.m. - Lunch, food vendors on site
• 1:05 p.m. - Tom Fletcher, "Welcome to Barn Again"
• 1:15 p.m. - Daryl Wheeler, "Regional Police Forces, the Constitution and Our Role as Christians"
• 1:45 p.m. - Margarete Fallat, "The Silent Majority: Growing up During Hitler’s Rise and Fall"
• 2:30 p.m. - Heather Scott, "Living Out Your Faith, No Matter Where God Puts You"
• 3 p.m. - Dan Fisher, "The Constitution, State Sovereignty, and How Christians Can be Effective in Our Republic"
• 4 p.m. - David Barton, "God in the Constitution"