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Hundreds of people pack the Lake Charles Civic Center coliseum Thursday for an observation of the National Day of Prayer. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Hundreds of people pack the Lake Charles Civic Center coliseum Thursday for an observation of the National Day of Prayer. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

National Day of Prayer kicks off weekend Contraband festivities

Last Modified: Friday, May 02, 2014 12:42 PM

By Justin Phillips / American Press

As the city prepares to get overrun by pirates during Contraband Days, festivities have started to get into full swing as the weekend approaches. National Prayer Day coincides with the start of the festival.

Nasir Siddiki addressed a packed Lake Charles Civic Center coliseum Thursday as hundreds gathered to observe National Prayer Day.

Siddiki was the guest speaker for the event, which also featured a lunch. Siddiki’s message focused on his battles with illness; success; failure; and faith.

Siddiki began by telling the crowd about a life-threatening bout with shingles in his 30s that led him from Islam to Christianity. He said the doctors at the hospital had given up hope of recovery and in that moment, Siddiki said, “The only thing left was humility and fear.

“God, if you’re real, don’t let me die,” Siddiki said he whispered to himself in the hospital room.

Siddiki said he saw Jesus’ presence in his hospital room and after that day, he went on to recover. From there, he decided to preach to people about the power of faith.

“I was a Muslim businessman,” Siddiki said. “Who would have thought he would come to me.”

Siddiki’s message dealt with how big a role faith can play in regular life and in the business world. He also encouraged those in the crowd to treat every day as they did Thursday.

“Let’s spend a little time with him every day, and every day will be a national day of prayer,” Siddiki said.

Contraband Days officially gets into full swing today with the some of the festival’s cornerstone events.

The cannon firing to protect the city will be at 5 p.m. at the seawall. The Buccaneers will begin their shore landing at 6 p.m.; at 7 p.m., Jean Lafitte and the Buccaneers will force city mayors to walk the plank.

Bryan Fontenot will perform on the outdoor stage at 6 p.m.; The Family Stone will close the night on the Civic Center Coliseum Stage at 9 p.m.

Festival gates will open at 10 a.m. Saturday. Events will include registration and weigh-in for the 26th Annual Contraband Days Armwrestling Tournament 9 a.m.-noon. The tournament will start at 1 p.m.

Outdoor stage shows will include a battle of the bands 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and the night will be capped by a performance by LA ROXX.

Gates will open at noon Sunday. The Pirogue Building Contest will be at 10 a.m. The outdoor stage will include shows from Elm’s District at 2 p.m.; the final performance will be by Mirages at 6 p.m.

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