Georgians Newsletter

Table of Contents

Did you know?

Coca-Cola was invented in May 1886 by Dr. John S. Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia.

Berry College in Rome, Georgia has the world’s largest college campus.

The holidays are upon us and Georgia is ready. There is everything from a Festival of Trees and time with Santa to Sweetwater Festivals and Christmas Home Tours. So visit Georgia Events Calendar at to get more ideas of great things to do. Please forward our newsletter to your family and friends and share the fun. Together, we can accomplish amazing things!

Atlanta Metro

Festival of Lights

Join in the celebration of art and light November 10-11, 2006 from 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. in Olde Town Conyers.

This unique Festival of Lights event is based on the European lighting festival held each December in Lyon, France. For the past 150 years the people of Lyon spontaneously light up their windows on a particular night. Over time, the City Government joined in this tradition, making it a great Festival of Lights by transforming the city into a stage.

Acuity brings together lighting professionals from all over the world to learn about lighting trends and applications, holds workshops at the company’s local campus and conducts a showing of the teams’ outdoor lighting displays on the last night of the session. This year, their work of art will appear for the first time on 12 historic buildings in Olde Town Conyers and the creative lighting will be displayed for two nights.

Delicious food vendors and entertainment will also be on hand to add to the ambiance of the spectacular lighting displays. Admission is free so make plans to bring your family to this dynamic festival. You’re encouraged to see Olde Town in a whole new light!

For more information, call 770-860-3579 or visit

Article submitted by Monica Coffin.

Georgia Coast

Okefenokee Christmas

In the midst of Charlton County lies the quiet little town of Folkston. Here you can still capture that rare “Small Town America” feeling. Every year the Okefenokee Chamber of Commerce and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge present the Okefenokee Christmas and it is truly something you won’t want to miss.

It all begins at the Historic Depot for the Jingle Bell Run. Children, ages 5 through 12, will get ready on the starting line to begin their journey around the block, with anklets of jingle bells tingling as they run. Once the race is complete and awards are made, the children will scurry inside the train depot to enjoy refreshments of cookies and punch to replenish their expended energy.

Inside the depot, they will be entertained with a reading of a good Christmas story, while listening for the arrival of that fat, jolly old man called Santa Claus. Once Santa does his usual listening to wishes for the big day and handing out treats to the little ones, entries for the parade will start lining up to make their way down Main Street from the Historic Train Depot to the Grand Court House sitting so elegantly at the head of Main Street.

Along the way businesses will be serving refreshments to the shoppers and parade watchers from their decorated stores. The festivities will culminate with adults and children alike gathered around the 20 foot tree, ears tuned in to the reading of the Christmas Story as the lights are ceremonially turned on. The celebration will take place November 25th, beginning at 3pm. For more information regarding this event, please contact the Okefenokee Chamber of Commerce at (912) 496-2536 or visit their website at

And that’s not all…. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge also invites you to join them at the “Chesser Island Christmas” held on December 9, 2006 beginning at 6pm. This event has also become one of the annual highlights of an “Okefenokee Christmas”.

Chesser Island Christmas is held at the end of the winding wildlife drive at the Chesser Island Homestead. The Homestead is the restored home of the Chesser family who raised several generations of their family in and near the swamp.

The celebration begins adjacent the parking lot where a luminary lighted lane padded with pine straw under your feet, leads to the yard area surrounding the house. Upon reaching the front yard of the homestead participants will be treated to a raging bonfire to warm their bodies and encourage the singing of traditional Christmas Carols.

After caroling, homemade cookies and hot chocolate are served by volunteers and staff of the refuge. The evening also includes a performance of a one act play depicting a typical 1920’s Christmas on Chesser Island. Participants can also tour the candle/ oil lamp lit home to see how the early settlers of the swamp lived. For more information, please contact the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge at 912-496-7836 or visit their website at .

Article submitted by Claudia Burkhart of the Okefenokee Chamber of Commerce

Historic South

Sweetwater Festival

Milledgeville is whipping up its third batch of the annual Sweetwater Festival to be held on Saturday, November 4th. And it is promising to be bigger and better than ever!

Sweetwater Festival is a cultural arts and music festival located in historic downtown Milledgeville and composed entirely of regional talents, artists, and vendors.

It beckons travelers from all over with an antique car show, a phenomenal MainStage line-up with live entertainment ranging from bluegrass to rock-and-roll, artist market, and a “KidZone”. Sports fanatics will also get their fix in the “EndZone”, an area outfitted with recliners and wide-screen televisions featuring everyone’s favorite teams. The festival will also hold a sanctioned Memphis-in-May BBQ cook-off contest featuring the first People’s Choice award that will draw BBQ connoisseurs from around the Southeast.

The name Sweetwater is derived from the story of the settling of Milledgeville. Some will claim it as truth while others dismiss it as legend. When a group of commissioners who were given the task of finding a new capital city came upon Jarrett Springs in Milledgeville, they mixed the water with their whiskey and claimed it had a sweetness that was unmatched by any other substance during that time. They then declared Milledgeville the site of the new capital. The spirit soon became known as Sweetwater and since it was this which brought people here over 200 years ago, it seemed fitting for the tradition to continue with the celebration of our discovery and hometown with this festival.

For more information, please contact Milledgeville MainStreet at 478-414-4014 or visit their website at

Article submitted by Heather Kennedy

Georgia Mountains

Cowboys and Cattle Drives

Need a break from the turkey and trees? Then “mosey on over” to the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. There truly is something for everyone here and you will not want to miss the “Children’s Saturday –Cowboys and Cattle Drives” and the “By Native Hands: Native American Baskets from the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art”.

On November 11, from 10:00 to Noon is “Children’s Saturday–Cowboys and Cattle Drives”. Using the painting by Starting the Big Circle Charlie Dye as a starting point, children will learn how cowboys gather cattle in the fall so they can be moved to market. The children will learn about cattle trails and cattle drives. They will discover how a drive was organized, how the cowboys lived on the trail and how much money they could make herding cattle. Children will make their own “cattle drive” artwork to take home.

On December 2 through February 11, 2007, experience the “By Native Hands: Native American Baskets From the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art” in the Booth Special Exhibit Gallery. This exhibit features a collection of Native American basketry from the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi, collected at the turn of the century by Laurel resident Catherine Marshall Gardiner. The collection contains baskets produced between 1850 and 1910, by artisans representing more than 40 North American tribes from across the continent. Today’s native basket-makers work within a tradition that is centuries old. Most basketry traditions are closely tied to the land; baskets are made locally from available fibers and dyed with local plants.

The Booth Western Art Museum is the second largest Museum in the state of Georgia. Its Presidential Gallery is the only one like it anywhere with a photograph and an original signed letter by each U.S. President.

This 80,000 square foot Museum opened in August 2003, with main galleries featuring contemporary Western American art. Other galleries feature Civil War art, Presidential portraits and letters, Western movie posters, and Western illustration. Sagebrush Ranch is an interactive gallery where children of all ages can learn about art and Western America. The Museum’s Special Exhibit Gallery host’s three to five temporary exhibits per year.

The Museum Store offers books on art and the West, as well as prints and other items featuring Western American art images. The Café offers light lunches to guests and members visiting the Museum. A multimedia theatre, with seating for 60, shows the orientation film “The American West” every 20 minutes.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Thursday 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (Closed on Mondays). Admission: Adults-$8.00, Seniors and Persons With Military ID-$6.00, Students (13-18 years)- $5.00 and Children (12 years and under) FREE, Group Rates (15 or more)-$5.00.

The Booth Museum is located at 501 Museum Drive, Cartersville, Georgia 30120. For more information call 770-387-1300 or visit their website at

Article information from Booth Western Art Museum

Georgia Southern Rivers

A Crisp Christmas

It’s just like potato chips, you can’t enjoy just one! Crisp County has so many great happenings that they couldn’t narrow it down to just one and when you see their list you will understand why.

Here’s what’s going on in Crisp County in December:

Lions Club Downtown Christmas Parade located in beautiful downtown Cordele on December 1st - 6:00 p.m. For more information contact the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce at 229-273-1668.

12th Annual Downtown Christmas Tour of Homes at the Lake Blackshear Resort. This takes place on December 3rd from 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Reception and door prizes begin at 1:30 p.m. Tours of six homes will be from 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. For more information call Rita Adams at 229-273-8608 or Elaine Worley 229-273-3102 Ext 635.

Crisp County “Big Tree Lighting” at the Crisp County Courthouse on 210 South 7th Street on December 5th at 6:00 p.m. For more information, contact the Crisp County Administrator's Office at 229-276-2672.

“Lights of Love and Keep Crisp Beautiful Christmas Tree Decorating Contest” at the Crisp Regional Hospital Walking Track on 5th Street North on Dec. 7th at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce at 229-273-1668.

So just don’t choose one event, join us for all and celebrate the Holidays with us!

On a special note, for the 2nd consecutive year, Easter Seals Southern Georgia is selling the Official City of Cordele Christmas Ornament. The 2006 ornament depicts Cordelia Hawkins and is a twenty-four carat gold over brass ornament. Each one is numbered and includes a custom fitted box, embossed with the Easter Seals logo and a certificate of authenticity.

When you hang the "Cordelia Hawkins Ornament" on your tree, you have helped children and adults with disabilities at Easter Seals Southern Georgia.

The ornaments cost $15.00 and can be purchased by phone (229-439-7061) or on-line. Each ornament that is mailed also includes an additional $2.00 delivery fee.

Article submitted by Monica Simmons of the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce

Georgia Charity Profile

Christmas Past

Take a step back into early America at the Georgia World Congress Center this holiday season, and watch your family’s smiles grow faster than the 13 colonies.

The 30th Annual Festival of Trees, held on December 2 to 10, will “Celebrate Christmas Past” with 150,000 square feet of exhibits, live performances, rides and activities for the whole family.

Returning favorites include: hundreds of decorated trees, wreaths, tabletop displays; elaborate gingerbread creations; rides, a 30-foot super slide, a roller coaster, full-size carousel, live performances, children’s crafts and activities, specialty gift and food shops; and of course, a visit with Santa.

New this year: watercolor artist Brenda Harris Tustian, who will present limited-edition prints of her work “Love Lifted Me” and will make appearances throughout the Festival week to sign her work; All proceeds of the prints’ sales to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta; designer and author Susan Rountree will present workshops and sign books on the Festival floor on December 7, which is a can’t-miss for garden and entertaining enthusiasts; creator of fine European glass ornaments and holiday decorations, Christopher Radko, will present two unique ornaments designed in honor of this year’s Festival, both of which will be for sale to attendees.

The Festival will feature craft demonstrations and activities a la early America, including quilters, spinners, a stockade “photo booth” and town criers.

The Festival’s international exhibit includes more than 20 vignettes telling the story of how the holidays are celebrated around the world.

The entertainment continues on the Festival’s main stage with live performances throughout the week from school choirs, community bands and dance groups. Including the Metropolitan Atlanta Community Band, Peachtree Jazz Edition, Atlanta Swing Orchestra, Roswell New Horizons Jazz Band and the Dennis Fermin Project. Also, the national holiday Radio Disney tour “Jingle Jam” returns on December 8 and will feature rising stars Nuttin But Stringz and Jonas Brothers.

Finally, this year’s Festival will feature a miniature golf course where visitors can practice their short game.

Also, don’t forget-the 26th annual Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade has grown to become one of the Southeast’s premier holiday parades and is the official kickoff to the Festival of Trees. This year’s Parade will take place on Saturday, December 2, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, beginning in downtown Atlanta at Peachtree and Baker streets, covering 1.5 miles. The Parade will open with a special performance from the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums, a New England-based group with international recognition. Award-winning marching bands, floats, dance groups, celebrity guests, giant helium balloons, clowns and many other surprises also will make their way along the parade route.

The Festival of Trees has raised more than $15 million for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta since its inception. Proceeds from the 2006 Festival of Trees will benefit the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Carlos and Marguerite Mason Transplant Center.

Festival of Trees operating hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and over, $6 for children ages 2 to 12, and free for children under 2. To purchase advance tickets or to learn more about the Festival of Trees and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade, call 404-785-NOEL or visit

Article submitted by Jennifer Sinclair, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta