By Joel Hall
Since June 30, 1960, when the Clayton County Rotary Club received its charter, the organization has been active in the Southern Crescent, volunteering in various capacities and promoting cross-cultural understanding through international student exchanges.
One week from now, the Rotary will celebrate 50 years in Clayton County with an evening of "cabaret under the stars" at the National Archives at Atlanta.
"Evening Under the Stars," a celebration of the Rotary's golden anniversary, will take place Saturday, June 5, at the National Archives' outdoor amphitheater, located at 5780 Jonesboro Road in Morrow. The event will start with a social at 6:30 p.m., and a New England lobster dinner, catered by Lake City's Southside Seafood Co., at 7 p.m.
The highlight of the night will be a presentation of "Let the Good Times Roll," featuring award-winning, former Broadway performer, Robert Ray, as well as vocal artists, Marcia DuPree and Shawn Megorden. The glitzy, cabaret-style show will feature a variety of American tunes from the 1960s, to the present day, including the songs of Barry Manilow, Diana Ross and The Supremes, and Aretha Franklin.
Clayton Rotary President Mike Twomey said the event will have a "Chastain Park" feeling, with customized outdoor dining areas. He said the celebration will be "memorable" and the entertainment at a level rarely seen in the Southern Crescent.
"This is a celebration, it is not a fund-raiser," said Twomey. "It is not meant to do anything other than celebrate our 50th year. That's a big thing for a civic organization. It's an honor that we are going to have a celebration that fits the occasion. This is going to raise the level of entertainment on this side of town."
According to Twomey, Rotary District 6900 Governor Roy Strickland, who presides over all of the state's Rotary clubs west of Interstate 75, will be in attendance, in addition, other notable business people and community leaders will attend. The event, however, is open to the entire community, he said.
"Some people are coming from as far as Canton, Ga.," Twomey said. "A lot of people are not Rotarians. We want to open the event to the community. I want to make people aware of Clayton County, the Morrow area, as well as the Rotary Club."
Clayton Rotary President-elect Gid Rowell, who will take the reigns of the group on July 1, said the organization has been busy over the past year with efforts such as the club's annual senior fruit basket program, which delivers nutritional fruit baskets to the elderly; the Georgia Rotary Student Program, in which Rotary Clubs across the state sponsor a foreign student for an entire year, and the Clayton County Public Schools dictionary project, in which every third-grade student in the district was given a free dictionary, and shown how to use it.
Rowell said next Saturday's celebration will be an enjoyable way to remind people of the work the Clayton Rotary has done over the past 50 years. "This is really going to be more of a community celebration," he said. "To know that an organization has stayed active for that long, doing service projects in the community, that's impressive."
In case of rain, the event will be moved indoors to the National Archives exhibit space. Tickets are $50 per person. For more information, call (678) 614-3824.