By Curt Yeomans
Morrow residents are invited to come together on Saturday for a unity-themed fall festival jointly hosted by Morrow High School, and it's neighbor, Morrow Middle School.
The festival is scheduled to feature a wide array of activities for the community, including games, a car-and-bike show, health screenings, displays by Clayton County's police and fire departments and the Sheriff's Office, arts-and-crafts sales, gospel performances, and a performance by Morrow High School's drumline.
This is the first time the schools, in recent memory, have come together for a fall festival, organizers said. "We're doing this because of so much negativity we've heard about the school system and the community lately," said Co-organizer Valencia Stoval, mother of a high school and a middle school student. "With this fall festival, we want to bring the community together for something positive."
The event is scheduled to last from 9 a.m., to 3 p.m. The schools, which share a parking lot, are located at the corner of Maddox Road and Old Rex-Morrow Road.
Clayton County Commissioner and Morrow Middle School Parent-Community Liaison Sonna Singleton, a member of the festival's executive committee, said she and other organizers are hoping thousands of people will attend the festival.
"This is going to be a good, fun-filled day for the parents and the children, and the community as a whole," Singleton said. "Between the two schools combined, we have an enrollment of nearly 2,300 students, so if we have 5,000 people attend the festival, we would count ourselves as having a good turnout."
There is no admission fee to attend the festival, although some activities, such as a three-on-three basketball tournament in the high school's gymnasium, and free play in the middle school's gymnasium, will carry small admission fees, Singleton said. There will be a $1 fee to enter the free play area in Morrow Middle School's gymnasium, she said.
Derrick Belford, the parent-community liaison for Morrow High School, said admission to the high school's gymnasium will be $5, and that includes a student versus faculty basketball game that is being planned. The admission fees to Morrow Middle School's gymnasium will go to the school's athletic department, while the admission fee to the Morrow High School gymnasium will go to the high school's athletic department.
Stoval said the event will give organizations at both schools an opportunity to do fund-raising for their programs. She said some groups will do fund-raising that is tied to their group's theme, such as Morrow High School's Spanish Club, and French Club selling Spanish cuisine and French cuisine, respectively.
"These kids are always doing car washes, and other fund-raisers, to raise money for trips, so we came up with a way for them to all come together and do their fund-raising at one big community gathering," Stoval said.
The affiliated car-and-bike show, which will benefit the Morrow High School band program, will feature first- and second-place car awards, and bike awards, for a "Best of Show" category. It will also include first-place awards for a "Vehicle Most Likely To Be Stopped By Police" category. The winners of those awards will be selected through voting by festival attendees.
Anyone in the community who wants to enter their car, or bike, is welcome to do so, Singleton said. Registration is $25 for cars and $20 for motorcycles before Saturday, and $30 for cars, and $25 for motorcycles on the day of the festival, according to the registration form.
Stoval said that in addition to the games, and the car-and-bike show, people also will be able to get free health screenings from Clayton State University's nursing and dental hygiene departments, as well as Georgia State University's Women's Health Navigators program.
For more information on the festival, call Morrow High School at (404) 362-3865, or Morrow Middle School at (404) 362-3860, or visit www.morrowfallfest.co.cc/.