Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
In order to celebrate recent improvements to Lovejoy's downtown area, the city will host "A Day of Family Fun in the Park" on Saturday, June 19, at the Lovejoy Community Center.
The day-long event will include a five-kilometer walk/run to support cancer survivors; a car show, and the premiere of the city's brand-new Open Air Market, a place where vendors will be able to sell their wares on a regular basis.
The National Cancer Survivors Day event will take place from 8 a.m., to noon, while the first-ever Lovejoy Open Run Car Show will be held from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m. The new Open Air Market, located next door to the Lovejoy Community Center, will operate from 8 a.m., to 8 p.m.
Lovejoy City Manager Sebastian Jackson said the purpose of the festival, as well as the recent downtown improvements, is to unite the north and south sides of the city.
"We're in the process of revitalizing our downtown Lovejoy district," he said, "and we want people to know what is down here. Historically, the north and south sides ... have been separated, with the Northside being more modern, and the Southside being older and less-developed. We're trying to merge the two together. We're trying to bring more attractions here, so everybody -- north and south -- can enjoy it."
Registration for the walk/run event will start in the parking lot of the Lovejoy Community Center at 8 a.m., followed by warm-up exercises led by LA Fitness of McDonough, and a 9 a.m., shotgun start, led by the Chick-fil-A cow.
According to Lovejoy Special Events Coordinator Kim McNair, the first 150 registrants will receive a goody bag and a T-shirt. She said the cost of registration is $25 and the proceeds will go to Hope Closets, an arm of the Breast Cancer Survivors' Network, Inc., that provides wigs, beauty supplies, and financial assistance to recovering cancer survivors.
"Some people get this [cancer], and they are embarrassed, or they shut themselves in," McNair said. "We want people to see that there is a support network here in the Lovejoy area. We just want families to come out as a unit."
The walk/run route begins at the Lovejoy Community Center, travels north on Hastings Bridge Road, east on McDonough Road, and south onto East Lovejoy Road. From there, the path crosses Hastings Bridge Road and makes a loop on Lovejoy Drive, back to the community center.
Medals will be given to the male and female winners of the competitive walk and competitive run, and winners have the chance to receive one year's worth of once-a-month dinners from Chick-fil-A, a Starbucks Coffee gift basket, or a 30-day membership to LA Fitness, McNair said.
According to Jackson, the first-ever Open Run Car Show is open to street rods, custom cars, trucks, antiques, and motorcycles. Judges will give awards in such categories as Mayor's Choice, Best Unfinished, Best-in-Class, and Best Overall, he said.
Registration for the car show is $10 in advance, and $15 on the day of the show, according to Jackson.
"A Day of Family Fun in the Park" festivities will usher in the city's new Open Air Market. The covered space will provide room for up to 25 vendors to sell food, flowers, produce, antiques, and seasonal items, on a regular basis.
"We have a number of vendors who come to the city and want to sell on the side of the road," Jackson said. "We would have to turn them away, and both they and the city lost out. The mayor and council had the idea of, 'Why not put all of these people under one roof?' It's great for people who have home businesses and want to grow them. This is an intermediate place where they can do that."
Jackson said the Open Air Market will become an "instrumental" part of the city's future festivals and activities. He said vendors will be able to rent space at the market for $15 a day, Monday to Thursday, and for $20 a day, Friday to Sunday.
Any questions about the walk/run should be directed to Kim McNair, at (678) 583-6709. For general information, or questions about the car show, call (770) 471-2304.