By Ed Brock
For Joanie Jones of Jonesboro, the best part of the annual Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County Barbecue is the "Million Dollar Cake Auction."
"Some of the cakes are very elaborate, some of them are very simple and some, they just buy from Ingles," Jones said. "But they get excited about it."
The barbecue will be Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Old Jail/History Center in Jonesboro, and once again former Clayton County Sheriff Bill Lemacks will be cooking his famous stew and barbecue sauce.
"We've had a very good response from the town and the city," said Amanda Roberts, chairwoman of the barbecue committee.
For $5, attendees also get to hear music from The Honeycreek Boys Bluegrass group who will be playing live. They also get to tour the old jail, and historian Ted Key will be the auctioneer for the cake auction.
The proceeds from the barbecue, which has been held for at least 13 years, go to benefit the restoration and preservation projects of Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County such as Stately Oaks. Roberts said they recently had to replace the roofs of three of the outbuildings at the old plantation house on Jodeco Road.
Another current project is the restoration of Gayden House on Church Street where Civil War doctor Francis Gayden once lived.
"We've restored the outside and we're trying to get some money together for the inside," Roberts said.
The barbecue is also the beginning of the membership campaign for Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County. New memberships as well as renewals can be handled while enjoying the music and food. Those attending will also be able to pick up application packages for First Families of Clayton County, the new pioneer heritage organization sponsored by Historical Jonesboro.
The First Families organization is open to people who can prove they are related to one of the county's founding families, which includes any family that was in the county before it was formed in 1858. That includes, but is not limited to, those included on the 1860 federal census or those listed in Clayton County court records between 1858 and Dec. 31 1860.
For further information or tickets, call Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at (770) 473-0197.