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Weekend events bring Henry community together

Photo by Casey Case
Honorees in in the pound cake category of Saturday’s Tastiest Pound Cake Contest included Rita Green (left), of McDonough, for third place; Donna Walls, of Hampton, in second place; and Wanda Davis, of McDonough, for first place. In the chocolate pound-cake category, winners were Rotasha Wade, of McDonough, for first place; Celeste Green, of McDonough, for second place; and Andrea Evans (right), of Charlotte, N.C., for third place.
 

Photo by Casey Case Honorees in in the pound cake category of Saturday’s Tastiest Pound Cake Contest included Rita Green (left), of McDonough, for third place; Donna Walls, of Hampton, in second place; and Wanda Davis, of McDonough, for first place. In the chocolate pound-cake category, winners were Rotasha Wade, of McDonough, for first place; Celeste Green, of McDonough, for second place; and Andrea Evans (right), of Charlotte, N.C., for third place.  

Good food, good music, and an appreciation for the arts were among the highlights at several events over the weekend in Henry County.

Hundreds jammed the Jason T. Harper Event Center, Friday, to participate in the 11th Annual Taste of Henry event. All proceeds will go toward A Friend’s House, a McDonough-based organization for children in crisis. Organizers were still assessing, as of Monday, how much money was raised, said Nan Jenkins, director of development for A Friend’s House.

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Photo by Casey Case Seven-month-old Adler Pietras (from left), of McDonough, and his father, Damon, were among the attendees for a Spring ArtFest on the McDonough Square, Saturday.

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Special Photo Crowds of local residents gathered on Square, in McDonough, for a Spring ArtFest, Saturday, sponsored by McDonough Arts. The event included food, live entertainment and children’s activities.

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Photo by Casey Case The McDonough Arts’ Spring Art Fest featured several food venues, including a railroad car which served as a catering vehicle for Pop’s Southern Cooking. The art festival was held, Saturday, on the city’s Square.

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Special Photo The Cat in the Hat visited with local children at the McDonough Arts Spring ArtFest, Saturday. The event also featured food vendors and entertainment.

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Special Photo Face-painting and other activities were part of the festivities at Saturday’s Spring ArtFest, in downtown McDonough. The McDonough Arts organization sponsored the annual event.

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Special Photo Festive decor highlighted the scenery at the McDonough Arts’ Spring ArtFest, Saturday. The event featured an artists market, live music and a Tastiest Pound Cake Contest.

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Special Photo Onlookers at Saturday’s Spring ArtFest enjoyed live performances by several entertainers, as well as food and an artists market on the McDonough Square.

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Special Photo Kids gathered on the McDonough Square, Saturday, for a chance to meet the Cat in the Hat during an annual Spring ArtFest. The event was sponsored by the McDonough Arts organization.

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Special Photo The Cat in Hat (right) was among the featured attractions during a Spring ArtFest on the McDonough Square, Saturday.

“We had about 1,500 people, total,” said Jenkins. “I had 38 restaurants show up. The money, we think, is going to be bigger than ever. We just haven’t gotten a bottom line on the number figure yet. We had more sponsors than ever, so that’s why we feel like, monetarily, it’s going be better than ever. We just haven’t crunched all the numbers yet.”

Awards were given in five categories during Taste of Henry. Bliss, a cupcake eatery on the Square in McDonough, received Kids Choice and Best Sweets accolades, and the El Agave Mexican restaurant won the Rookie of the Year award, after participating for the first time on Saturday.

Incredible Southern Poundcakes received an award for Best Presentation, and, for the third straight year, the People’s Choice Award recognized a collaborative effort for Jailhouse Brewery, Hayden Grove Farms, and local chef, Jeffrey Bell.

On Saturday, McDonough Arts hosted a Spring ArtFest on the McDonough Square. The free occasion featured 31 cakes, in chocolate and non-chocolate categories, said Debbie Withers, director of publicity for McDonough Arts.

“It was a great day weather-wise, and we had a steady flow of traffic — about 1,000 people throughout the day,” said Withers. “We try to make the arts accessiible and visible for a wide audience.”

Brandan Well, of McDonough, came for the first time, with his 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Haley. “We had a great time,” said Well. “She loved the Cat in the Hat, and they had some great barbecue.”

The Spring ArtFest featured an artists market, food, live music, and a Tastiest Pound Cake Contest. Ashley Vicos, host of “Have Cake, Will Travel,” on the Food Network, trained four judges for the contest, according to Withers.

“She trained the judges on how to judge taste — what to look for in flavor, texture and moistness, not the aesthetics,” said Withers.

Saturday also provided an opportunity local residents to volunteer. The Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Henry program held its 14th annual Hands on Henry event.

Thirty-two projects geared toward beautification and site improvements, were completed by 1,124 volunteers, according to Shane Ammons, Hands on Henry chair for 2012.

“We had several school projects where they planted spring flowers, put down fresh straw, and did basic beautification of the grounds,” said Ammons. “It’s great to see that kind of turnout for an event like this.”

Other locations which received assistance from the volunteers included the Helping in His Name Food Pantry, in Stockbridge, and the McDonough City Cemetery.

McDonough was also the site of the fifth annual Run of the Mill 5K race, at Truett’s Grill, 1785 Jonesboro Road. Proceeds from that event will go toward the James Everett Memorial Scholarship Fund, honoring a 13-year-old boy who was killed in a car accident along Mill Road, in McDonough, on July 17, 2004.

“We had a total of 583 participants,” said Rhonda Jagus, event director.

Jagus is a member of Community Bible Church, in Stockbridge, where James Everett’s family attends services. She devised the concept because she wanted to honor James, and to benefit local students’ academic pursuits.

“I like to run, and I thought a 5K race would be a good idea to raise money,” said Jagus.

Three scholarships, worth $2,500 each, were awarded to local students as part of the Run of the Mill event. Scholarship winners are Asheton Harrell and Sara Knapp, each from Ola High School, and Destiny Nieves, from Stockbridge High School.

James Everett’s father, Brooks Everett, said he appreciates Jagus’ efforts to pay tribute to his son, and the support he received from attendees at the race.

“It’s such an encouragement,” the father said. “There are so many people who were there for us. I stand at the finish line every year, and thank people for their participation ... it’s a touching memorial for us.”

Also, Noah’s Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center and Children’s Care Home, at 712 L.G. Griffin Road, in Locust Grove, hosted a successful Arts & Crafts Fair, Saturday, notes Diane Smith, assistant to the facility’s director, Jama Hedgecoth.

“We had huge Spring Break crowds, which is always exciting for us,” said Smith. “Right now is field-trip time, and we can get up to 400 kids a day.”

Activities are expected continue, Wednesday, in McDonough, as part of Georgia Cities Week, sponsored by the Georgia Municipal Association. McDonough will spotlight each of three departments in the city government, Wednesday through Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., each day.

“Included will be displays, educational materials, staff from the day’s featured department to talk with, and of course, free food and lots of fun,” said McDonough Media Relations Specialist, Casey Case.

On Saturday, the city will hold a clean-up event at Rufus Stewart Park, from 8 a.m., to 11 a.m.

“Volunteers will be leaving from the park for the three hours of community service and returning to the park for their reward,” said Case. “Volunteers will be provided with a free lunch, music by a DJ, and lots of fun following the cleanup effort. Saturday’s activities will end at 3 p.m.”