By Joel Hall
In what has become a spring tradition, Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc., is preparing to serve spaghetti to more than 200 people during its annual Spaghetti Dinner Fund-raiser.
Proceeds will benefit various programs sponsored by the historical society, as well as the spring upkeep of Stately Oaks Plantation, which the society operates.
The fund-raiser will take place at the Jonesboro Firehouse Museum and Community Center, located at 103 West Mill St., in Jonesboro, on Saturday, March 20, from 5 p.m., to 7 p.m.
For $6, diners will be treated to a meal of spaghetti, salad, and bread, with a variety of donated desserts available for $1 apiece.
Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County Inc., President Barbara Emert said the five-year tradition has helped Stately Oaks volunteers "spruce up the house" in anticipation of the spring tourist season. She said the meal also offers a chance for locals to catch up with one another, after the winter season.
"Over the winter, everybody is shut in," Emert said. "It's kind of a beginning-of-spring ritual to see people and eat. There is not a set program or anything like that. It's just a good time for people to come and fellowship.
"Last year was wonderful ... we had wonderful attendance," she said. "In April, things start to pick up, people start bringing more tour buses, and we want to show our best face. We have a little bit of painting that we need to do. Hopefully, the money will help us with our spring onslaught of tourists."
According to Emert, several cooks have taken on the responsibility of preparing spaghetti for the masses. For many years, the spaghetti was prepared by Jon Crane, chairman of the disaster services committee for the Salvation Army in Jonesboro, Emert said.
Last year, she said, Bonnie Lemacks, the wife of former Clayton County Sheriff Bill Lemacks, took on the task. Preparing spaghetti this year, will be Helen Adkins, a member of the Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc., Board of Directors, as well as Tiffani Reynolds, a former WSB-TV reporter, and a public-speaking-skills instructor from Peachtree City.
"Everybody has their own recipe, which of course, they will not share with you," Emert said.
Adkins said the money generated by the event will help the historical society pay for insurance, and general upkeep on the several historic properties on the Stately Oaks plantation.
"Hopefully, this will help boost our account, so we meet all of our obligations, because maintaining these historical houses is pretty expensive," she said.
"Just having the propane to heat our little Juddy's Country Store has been really expensive. There are utilities and maintenance, and we are always looking for historical pieces to compliment our tours. I hope it's a good opportunity to for people who care about these historical buildings, to come and share a meal and know that they are helping in a small way."
Tickets for the fund-raiser are being sold -- from now until the event -- at Stately Oak Plantation, located at 100 Carriage Lane in Jonesboro.
Commemorative bricks for the Jonesboro Streetscape project, supporting Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc., will be on sale during the spaghetti dinner. For more information, call (770) 473-0197.