The Union Recorder

July 29, 2013

Back to School

August First Friday aims to get students, merchants and schools in gear

Shawn Humphrey
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — In honor of the start of the school year, Milledgeville Main Street's August First Friday will have a back to school theme.

There will be many opportunities to meet and greet with school board members, as well as students and teachers from schools in Milledgeville.

Baldwin County Board of Educations members are invited, and students, parents and other community members can meet with them and ask questions.

A community pep rally will also be held in the parking lot next to the downtown post office as a way to start the school year off with a bang. Cheerleaders from Georgia Military College Prep School, John Milledge Academy and Baldwin High School will have a friendly cheer-off.

As a part of the back to school theme, Mary Vinson Memorial Library will coordinate a used book sale at Digital Bridges downtown on Hancock Street to help raise money for the upcoming Georgia Literary Festival, which Milledgeville will host in the fall.

Host organizations for the festival include the Twin Lakes Library System, Georgia Military College, Georgia College and Allied Arts. 

Library volunteers and supporters will be at Digital Bridges between 6 and 8 p.m. Paperback books are $1 and hardcover books are $2.

“We would gladly accept assistance from any community organization or business that wishes to help with the funding of the festival,” said Sarah Hamil, Mary Vinson Memorial Library's outreach coordinator and co-chair of the festival.

Other groups in the community will also get involved with First Friday, including the Oconee Regional Symphony Orchestra.

This community-based, volunteer orchestra is made up of string, woodwind, brass and percussion players ages 16 and old from Milledgeville and surrounding communities.

While ORSO will not perform, orchestra members will have an information table set up in front of Digital Bridges to promote the upcoming open auditions, slated for Aug. 13, as well as their third season of rehearsals and concerts.

There will also be information available about the group and ways those interested can get involved with or volunteer to play with the orchestra.

Additional information on ORSO is available on the website www.oconeeregionalsymphonyorchestra.org or through conductor David Johnson, who can be reached via email at david.johnson@gcsu.edu.

As with every First Friday, the Fall Line Farmers Market will be held at First Presbyterian Church from 4 to 8 p.m. in support of local farmers, vendors and artisans.

The market accepts SNAP/EBT benefits with payments.

The Fall Line Farmers Market is also a large supporter of local music, and the market will host a very special guest for August.

Big Mike and the Booty Papas, fresh off of a tour in Europe, will perform for the crowd.

“They are a Grammy-nominated R&B band with a big following, and they're great people,” said Debbie Harshbarger, coordinator for the farmers market.

GeorgiaBob's Barbecue Company will also be on hand at the market with samples.

Every First Friday is a way for businesses owners in downtown Milledgeville to present their businesses to the public and have a small boost in revenues for a day.

One local business taking advantage of the buzz surrounding the upcoming First Friday is The Lemon Tree, located downtown on Wayne Street. 

The boutique sells unique gifts and home accessories, and will celebrate its first anniversary at the August event. 

Owner Shannon Stuart says she is excited for the event and hopes that she can boost her business' popularity with what she has planned. The Lemon Tree is slated to launch a new loyalty rewards program for its customers.

By signing up for the program, customers can earn rewards points by spending certain amounts of money with each visit to The Lemon Tree.

Also, anyone who signs up for the program and spends $25 during First Friday will receive a rewards bag. Anyone who shops at The Lemon Tree with the bag will earn 10 percent off of the total purchase with each visit.

The Lemon Tree will also have a live remote with Z-97 FM and other activities, including giveaways and door prizes, a raffle and free food samples.

For additional information on the Aug. 2 First Friday event call Carlee Schulte, Milledgeville Main Street/Downtown Development Authority director, 478-414-4014.

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