By Joel Hall
Residents in, and around, the communities of Rex and Ellenwood will have the chance next weekend to gather for barbecue, music, sports activities, and preventative health-care screenings.
For the fourth year in a row, State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Ellenwood) and Clayton County District 1 Commissioner Sonna Singleton will host the East Clayton County Community Day Festival.
The free, annual celebration will take place Saturday, June 19, from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., at the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, located at 3499 Rex Road, in Rex.
According to Glanton, more than 50 vendors will be on site, offering blood-pressure checks, diabetes screenings, and information about various community services. He said the purpose of the event has always been to generate a sense of community in the northeast Clayton area.
"Way before the Carl Rhodenizer [Recreation] Center was built, there was really nothing over in the Rex-Ellenwood area, as far as activities in the community, to bring those neighborhoods and communities together," Glanton said.
"It [the festival] was really an idea of addressing the lack of those things in the area and bringing people together. The first year, we had it at Rex Mill Middle School. With the construction of the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, it allowed us not only to be in a more-shaded area, but we were able to add pool games, basketball, and other activities."
Glanton said a co-ed, three-on-three basketball tournament, a ladies' volleyball invitational, and pool-side games will take place during the event. Throughout the afternoon, the local rhythm and blues, gospel, hip hop, jazz, and cultural acts will perform for festival participants, and boys ages 12, and under, will be able to receive free hair cuts from King Solomon's Sheers.
"It's a theme of diversity, inclusion, and community," Glanton said. "These are hard times for people, so everything we can offer, we're trying to do there."
Singleton said that members of various county agencies will be present to offer useful information, including the Clayton County Board of Health, the Clayton County District Attorney's Office, the University of Georgia/Clayton County Cooperative Extension Service, and the Clayton County Fire Department.
Multiple non-profit agencies will sell food on the premises, in order to generate funds for their respective organizations, she added.
"Rep. Glanton and I talked about this long before I was an elected official," Singleton said. "We were neighbors before we were elected officials, so this is something we had wanted to do. We just want to promote community in Clayton County. It is really an event that people in the area look forward to."
According to Glanton, barbecue chicken, ribs, and wings, fish sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, turkey legs, grilled corn, baked potatoes, and ice cream will be sold on-site at a minimum cost.
Outside food or drinks are prohibited, and festival attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and canopies. For more information, call (678) 479-7730, or (678) 201-2187.