By Joel Hall
Visitors and long-time residents of Jonesboro will be invited downtown this weekend to reunite, enjoy barbecue, listen to live music, and experience the city's historical and cultural assets.
Starting at 11 a.m., this Saturday, the City of Jonesboro will hold its annual "Jonesboro Days" celebration. A city tradition more than a decade old, the event will include free concerts, blacksmithing and martial arts demonstrations, and access to many of the city's museums and businesses for free or reduced prices.
Jonesboro City Council Member Pat Sebo, chairperson of this year's event, said Saturday's festivities will primarily take place at the Jonesboro Firehouse Museum and Community Center, located at 103 West Mill St. However, activities will also take place along Main Street, at the Road to Tara Museum, the Clayton County Historical Center (the Old Clayton County Jail), and at Stately Oaks Plantation.
According to Sebo, visitors to "Jonesboro Days" will be offered coupons for free admission to the Road to Tara Museum and the Stately Oaks grounds, as well as discount coupons good toward purchases at Me & My Babycakes, Arts Clayton, Stately Oaks Plantation, and Juddy's Country Store on the Stately Oaks grounds.
"It's an opportunity for us to show off the city, some of the businesses we have on Main Street, and give the public a chance to visit some of the historical sites that we are very proud of," Sebo said. "In most cases, they would have to pay to see these, but we are offering [access to] many [places for] free and some for a discount.
"It's an opportunity for the community to come together and just enjoy a day of fellowship," she added. "Not just Jonesboro High School alumni, but the past residents come back and share memories with those who are new to the city. It gives everybody a chance to reminisce."
From 12:30 p.m., to 3:30 p.m., the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau will offer free trolley tours of the City of Jonesboro, the Clayton County Historical Center, and Stately Oaks Plantation. Throughout the day, gospel, classic rock, and bluegrass bands will perform live in front of the Firehouse Museum and Community Center.
At 7 p.m., the activities will shift to the lawn of the Historic Clayton County Courthouse, where the Dave Gosdin Band will perform a free country music concert. The concert will mark the first in the city's Summer Concert Series, Sebo said.
Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox said "Jonesboro Days" has long served as a way to unite the city.
"It's a perpetuation of the small-town atmosphere we have here," Maddox said. "It has brought about a sense of togetherness to the city. We've had some small divisions over the years, but this always seems to knit the fabric back together."
For more information, call Jonesboro City Hall at (770) 478-3800.