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Jazz violinist Ken Ford headlines Lovejoy Fallfest

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The City of Lovejoy will showcase itself to the greater Southern Crescent community this Saturday during its annual "Fallfest" celebration.

This year, the free event will feature a live performance by popular jazz violinist, Ken Ford, along with performances by other local artists. There will also be food, and vendor booths sponsored by a variety of local businesses.

Lovejoy City Manager Sebastian Jackson said the city took a decidedly different approach to what will be its third Fallfest. Rather than hosting a carnival with attractions spread out across several areas, the city chose to focus on the vendors and the performers.

"We just wanted to do something for the community to bring the community together as one, and now, we are trying to bring the county together as one," Jackson said.

"For this year's Fallfest, we've reached out to all of the Clayton County organizations. They can come and set up a booth for free and pass out their information. It's a chance for citizens to sell their goods, share their talents. It brings additional attention to Lovejoy."

Sharing the stage along with Ford will be jazz saxophone player, Antoine Knight; the jazz, rhythm and blues ensemble, Darren Leslie; and "The Goodfellas."

In addition to those featured acts, there will also be local performers, including the Lovejoy High School Marching Band, Forest Park High School's own "Zodiax" dance team, "MYKO," "Cherisme," Jacob Lattimore, "Anon," "Lil One," "Precha Severe," and "Haziq."

According to Jackson, the event will offer face painting, and an electronic waste recycling center where people can discard their old cell phone and computer equipment. Book sales, jewelry vendors, and information about the upcoming 2010 U.S. Census and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, will also be available.

Throughout the day, the city will raise money to help pay for uniforms and instruments for the Lovejoy High School Marching Band.

Jackson said he believes having Ford headline the event will help younger audiences rethink their relationship with the violin. "When you think about violinists, you think about the classical violinists, sitting in the chair," Jackson said. "He takes the violin and he makes it urban. He might play, "Blame It," by Jamie Foxx or a reggae song by Sean Paul. He's dancing and running through the crowd. He makes it more appealing to the younger audience, and they can say, 'I can do it, too.'"

Lovejoy Councilwoman Rebekah Holland said much more thought went into this year's Fallfest, and that she believes it will be better than last year's. "I'm very pleased," Holland said. "I can see the growth. We really sat down and saw the things that we could improve on. I think the people from Lovejoy and the surrounding community area are really going to enjoy themselves."

Visitors to Fallfest are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The city is still accepting applications from Clayton County-based vendors. For more information, call (770) 471-2304.