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Arts events planned for McDonough Square

By Valerie Baldowski

Local artists and musicians will be in the spotlight with two events this month: McDonough Arts will sponsor "Art Attack" Saturday, June 5, from noon to 5 p.m., and its "Dancing Under The Stars" fund-raiser, on June 12, at 7:30 p.m. Both will be held on the McDonough Square.

Art Attack is a monthly program, held the first Saturday, from April through October, said Laura Maddox, president of McDonough Arts, a non-profit group dedicated to promoting the arts.

"It's designed to let people see artists at work," said Maddox. "They're actively doing their work, so people can see them in action."

Local artists will set up in front of businesses on The Square, along Keys Ferry Street, Macon Street, and Griffin Street, she said.

The event will benefit the artists as well as the surrounding downtown businesses, continued Maddox. "One of the things people like about McDonough is that small-town feel," she added. "The Square is the center of community spirit for McDonough."

The event will also provide a boost to the local economy, said Lynna Schmidt, president of the Henry County Arts Alliance. "Every time there's an event, that brings revenue in," said Schmidt. "People will go out to dinner and go shopping. It's a great way, economically, to help the county."

Steve Green, in charge of organizing the "Dancing Under The Stars" event, said the group hopes to raise funds for McDonough Arts' general budget. "We need a budget each year to promote other artists," said Green. "This is our first fund-raiser for the year. If we sell all our tables, we'll probably make between $4,000 and $5,000."

Thirty tables, which seat up to eight people, will be set up, he said, and the cost per table will be $800. Individual tickets are also on sale for $30 each, said Green.

Cocktail, dressy attire is requested for the event, according to Linda Schenk, McDonough Main Street Program director.

Green said music from the 1940's era will include Jitterbug and Swing Dance styles. A 1940s style band, "McDonough Swingtime Band," will begin playing at 7:30 p.m., he said.

"The McDonough Swingtime Band is a 17-piece, dance band, made up of vocalists and instrumentalists from Henry, Fayette and Clayton counties," said Schenk. "Their repertoire will get the crowd up on their feet with dance classics, including Perry Como's 'Till the End of Time' and the Glenn Miller Band's 'In the Mood.' There's sure to be a dance contest, so get your jitterbug ready, and join in the fun."

Seasons Bistro, Chevy's Diner & Ice Cream Parlor, P.J.'s Cafe, Dawgs 'N' Jackets, Bentley's On the Square and Pasta Max Cafe will be participating in the event, said Schenk. Attendees may pre-order their meal and pick it up before the event.

P.J.'s Cafe will also offer table-side catering on a limited basis. Dinner is not included in the ticket price, and should be ordered from the restaurants at least 48 hours in advance, she said.

Green said the event is designed to serve a dual purpose. "We're trying to promote not only the arts, [themselves], but the Square and the businesses around the Square," he said.