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Web site celebrates Clayton's sesquicentennial

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Celebrate Clayton 150 Committee, the official marketing group for Clayton's sesquicentennial celebration, recently launched a web site aimed at promoting events which highlight the county's culture and history.

Throughout the year, the www.celebrateclayton150.com web site will serve as an informational tool for people in, and outside, Clayton, so those who want to participate in local activities can do so.

Jane Glaze, chairwoman of the celebration committee, said the web site will help bring attention to the positive things happening in the county. "It gives them [outsiders] a reason to come and look at us," said Glaze. "While we are celebrating this birthday, these events are to celebrate our heritage, our past, our future, what is really great about Clayton County. It gives people a chance to go to our web site and find out what events are happening."

Event planners will be able to submit information about their Clayton-related events to the Celebrate Clayton 150 Committee for approval. A wide range of happenings are already on the calendar, including:

· (All February) Romantic Memories of Yesteryear, a tour of marriage customs from the Victorian era to modern times.

· (Feb. 21) "The African and African Family: Treasures to be Discovered," a free symposium hosted by the National Archives and Records Administration, Southeast Region and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to give African Americans the tools to track their family lineage.

· (March 7) Arts Clayton's "Arté Gras," an annual benefit gala supporting scholarships and local arts education programs.

· (May 7) the annual Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Clayton County Ministers' Conference.

The county's convention and visitors bureau (CCCVB) is helping promote the web site. Pat Duncan, CCCVB president and CEO, believes it will improve tourism by keeping people in the area better informed about events in the county.

"With the economic downturn, a lot of people are vacationing closer to home," said Duncan. "We're trying to target those people within 100 miles, so they can take those 'stay-cations.'

"These kind of things are good for visitors and locals as well," he continued. "A lot of people in Jonesboro don't know what is going on in Riverdale or Forest Park. The more well-informed we are, the easier it is to promote to each other and visitors alike."

Glaze believes the new web site will serve as a source of pride for residents and help improve the image of the county to visitors.

"Clayton County has a lot of good things happening that are not highlighted the way they should be," said Glaze. "If one person goes to an event and has a blast there, they might say this might not be a bad place to live. If an executive sees an event here, they might move their business here. It's kind of a trickle up effect.

"It's going to help improve the overall image of the county, and it is going to help the people who live here feel better about it," she said.