All next week, Pembroke and Richmond Hill, along with about 140 other Georgia cities, will be celebrating "Georgia Cities Week". The annual holiday, created by the Georgia Municipal Association, offers a variety of local activities for each respective community to participate in throughout the coming week.
The GMA has coined this year’s celebration "Living It Up Downtown." The downtown area of Richmond Hill will light up as entertainment and art displays are slated for J.F. Gregory Park and across the street at Station Xchange. Pembroke is taking their festivities to the senior center and schools.
Both Richmond Hill Mayor Richard Davis and Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook say they are excited about this opportunity to celebrate their cities.
"We are very proud of our city and the services we provide that make it attractive to residents and visitors," Davis said. "Too often, people are unaware of how cities enhance their quality of life, and we would like to invite them to come out for these events and learn more about the government that works for them."
"I always look forward to this time of year," Cook said. "For me, it’s a time to stop and reflect about this great town and how far we really have come as a community. This will be the first Georgia Cities Week for most of our council members here and we are all excited about next week and what it signifies."
City employee Jan Bass, who has coordinated the Richmond Hill festivities, said this week has been spent cleaning up the city by city workers and a city-wide large item trash pickup. Pembroke did this as well.
"The plan is to clean up in order to showcase the city all next week," Bass said.
The week got an early jump last night when the movie "Hook" was shown on a big screen at Station Xchange and continues today for the Business Expo at the recreation center. Dozen of booths will be set up by local businesses inside the rec gym and the public is invited to attend.
Donna Dasher is the entertainment coordinator for the event and has set up two live music concerts at the park. The Richmond Hill United Methodist Church Handbell Choir will perform Thursday night at while the Richmond Hill High School Chorus will perform Friday afternoon.
"Our goal with the timing of these concerts is to attract residents after work on Thursday and during their lunch break on Friday in order to give them a taste of the arts and get some rare live entertainment here in Richmond Hill," Dasher said.
She said the Handbell Choir will be a unique musical treat because "they don’t use their voices. They use all different pitches of the handbell to play songs."
Saturday seems to be the big day for the Richmond Hill event as a fishing derby, art show and live performances occur throughout the day at the park and at Station Xchange.
Bass said RHMS Georgia Studies essays and RHES art will be displayed all week at city hall in conjunction with the holiday.
For Pembroke, coordinator Tonya Raulerson said the holiday is highlighted by some events for seniors and children.
On Tuesday, volunteers will visit the senior center and make corsages and boutonnieres with local senior citizens. On Wednesday, local public safety officers will be visiting Pre-K and Headstart kids. Raulerson said education and fun will collide as kids will get to tour ambulances, turn on the sirens in a fire engine while getting safety tips.
Tuesday will also feature the first annual volunteer appreciation dinner. Raulerson said it is the Mayor Cook and the city’s way of recognizing locals who participate in committees and volunteer their time to local causes. Awards will be handed out and Raulerson said 70 volunteers will be honored.
The event will wind up Saturday with an "Annual Great American Clean-Up". The "Clean-Up" event consists of picking up trash throughout downtown. Raulerson said the boy scouts play a big role in that, but volunteers are still needed. If you would like to participate, call Raulerson at 653-5554.
Pembroke schedule of events
- Tuesday, April 22
10 a.m., Arts and crafts at Senior Citizens Center
7 p.m., Volunteer appreciation dinner at Harn Community Center
- Wednesday, April 23
9 a.m., Safety display at Pre-K and Headstart
-Thursday, April 24
12 p.m., City employee and staff luncheon, Harn Community Center
- Saturday, April 26
8 a.m. to Noon, Great American Clean-up
Richmond Hill schedule of events
- Saturday, April 22
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Business Expo, at RHRA
- Monday, April 23
8-9:30 a.m, Invitation-only Business Breakfast at Magnolia Manor
- Thursday, April 24
6 p.m., Live music from RHUMC Handbell Choir at J.F. Gregory Park
- Friday, April 25
10 a.m.-6 p.m., Visual arts display hosted by Arts on the Coast at Wetlands Center inside J.F. Gregory Park
12 p.m.-1 p.m. live music from RHHS Chorus at J.F. Gregory Park
- Saturday, April 26
8 a.m.-12 p.m., Fishing derby hosted by Fort McAllister Sport Fishing Club at J.F. Gregory Park
12 p.m.-4 p.m. "Fair on the Square" featuring entertainment and activities at Station Xchange
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Visual arts display hosted by Arts on the Coast at Wetlands Center inside J.F. Gregory Park
12 p.m.-4 p.m. Live performances from a variety of local groups including local bands, choral groups, and a children’s program under the pavilion in J.F. Gregory Park