End of summer festival at International Park

By Joel Hall


For some, the end of summer means getting ready for the football season and perfecting grill recipes for upcoming tailgate parties.

For others, it's going back to school and starting a new academic year.

On Labor Day, the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department, Clayton County Collaborative Authority and the Reach Them 2 Teach Them Foundation will give residents a chance to enjoy a variety of activities at Clayton County International Park, before the weather starts to get colder.

The Goodbye Summer ... Hello Fall Festival will take place on Sept. 1 at the International Park, starting at 8 a.m. It will be the last of three gatherings in the 2008 Summer Holiday Event Series hosted by the parks and recreation department.

Lindsey Delong, marketing and sales specialists for the department, said the festival will serve as a way to kick off the department's fall programs and also stress education, with a spelling bee and back-to-school giveaways.

"It's to kind of close off the summer, and with kids going back to school, it's to get them excited about all that fall entails," said Delong. "I think that this event stands out because it appeals to so many types of people. They can all come out and enjoy what's left of the summer."

During the festival, there will be an Education Celebration, which includes the "Peachtree TV Spelling Bee" in the afternoon. Open to all students aged 5-15, the bee will offer educational prizes and giveaways to successful participants. The general audience will also get a chance to participate in a raffle to win a desktop computer and other back-to-school supplies.

Registration for the spelling bee will be done on site.

For metro Atlanta culinary experts, local country music station, 92.5 FM "The Bear," will host a "Boss of the Sauce" competition. Participants can enter their own signature barbecue sauce for a chance for it to be deemed the best barbecue sauce in metro Atlanta. Contestants will also have a chance to win several prizes, such as grilling supplies, a weekend recreational vehicle (RV) rental, as well as stays in area hotels.

Live music from local acts, high school band drum-line performances, and an "Ultimate Tailgate Truck Showcase" are planned throughout the day. The evening will end with a fireworks display, starting at 9:15 p.m.

Albert Irvin, executive director of the Reach Them 2 Teach Them Foundation, said the main push is "edu-tainment," incorporating educational and entertainment experiences together. With turnout high at the last two events with the parks and recreation department, Irvin said, "We're hoping to do this event series again next year, and grow it even more.

"We have been very excited with the turnout," said Irvin. "We have had about 10,000 people come out to the previous two events, and we are looking to increase that."

The cost is $10 per person for the whole day, with free admission for children aged two and under. To register for the Boss of the Sauce competition, visit www.thebeachccip.com. For vendor opportunities, contact Albert Irvin at (678) 508-0317.