Sunday, November 13, 2011

Potential of Gray

I spent the better part of the end of the week attending various functions around Gray, Georgia. If you are new to this blog, I recently relocated back to Georgia. I was living in Birmingham, however, I am from Macon. About ten years ago, my family moved to a home in an area outside of Macon called Jones County. The "center" of Jones County is Gray - and that's where my sister works. She is the Director of Gray Station Better Hometown.

There were three events this weekend, and I decided to give them a whirl.

The first took place on Thursday night - A Jones County Business Expo & Taste of Jones County. My mother and I ventured out to the Jones County Fairgrounds. In the back of this area is a Scouting Hut, which is a really nice sized building - and this is where the free event took place.

Heather sitting with her Gray Station Better Hometown Exhibit

I sampled some goodies from Shooters and All About The Cake. Both were really good. I would definitely consider eating at Shooters (which I have not tried yet) and ordering a cupcake or cake from All About Cake.

Several businesses were on hand. Central Georgia Technical College, Georgia Power, Tri County EMC, a Hospice Group as well as an Assisted Living center. A few shops and even the "Elf on a Shelf" was on hand. It was a small gathering, but nice to check out.

The Chamber of Commerce partnered with Gray Station Better Hometown to host this event.

I believe these goodies are from the little store downtown called The Carriage House. (Don't hold me to it.. but I believe that is what it is.) It is just so nice to see that Georgia Bulldog's face again!

Mainly City Council members, their wives, Chamber members, and business owners were in attendance. I sat across from a lady working a car wash booth. I tried to be friendly and speak to her, but she was simply not interested in talking to me. (*hint hint - you never know who is sitting next to you. ALWAYS be friendly. ;-) ) LOL Then to my left was a really nice family. Turns out, the gentleman sitting across from me was one of the City Council members. ( Was reintroduced on Saturday.) - Sir, you get my vote! Was nice to have a someone sitting near us that was willing to chat a little.  

Mom and I at the Expo/Taste of Jones County

Overall, I think the event was a good try. It's a shame more businesses did not participate, nor restaurants. It's also a shame more people did not come out. I am a big believer in participating in your community, and it seems either one of two things are happening: 1. The word is not getting out or 2. The citizens of Jones County are so apathetic about their community, that they do not support the efforts of their elected officials, local business owners, and volunteers.

Hmmm... food for thought.

Saturday morning I experienced my first 6 year old birthday party. I took my niece to Stevi B's Pizza in Macon for her friend Zachary's Birthday Party. Zach attends Gray Elementary with Autumn. Again - interesting, the family gathered in Macon for the birthday party - when there is a locally owned pizza parlor in Gray. Regardless, the family was adorable and sweet. Here are some of the highlights:

Autumn's first game with her classmates was to punch the little heads to pop up.

Her favorite was skee ball! Zach's family provided each kid with a little cup of tokens.

These two had a blast trying to figure it out. Interesting to see how sweet 5 year olds are. They share, they laugh, they smile at each other. God help them.. in just a few short years, the cattiness will erupt! LOL

Of course, Autumn sat with her two best friends - Zach and Dominic.

The kids got to enjoy pizza, sodas, birthday cake and icecream.

Thank GOD she was well behaved for me.

After sitting at a table with the moms, I realized I am in a completely different place in my life. Of course they asked if I was Autumn's mom, and no - I am not. Then the question of children, of course, I do not have any. Most of the women were my age or younger, and had multiple children. Most were born and raised in Gray and never left. Very much got the vibe of a small town feel.

After the little shindig - I took Autumn to meet our family at the Second Saturday Festival in Downtown Gray. From what I could tell there was a band in a music store, and Keema had her fabulous book sale - all books marked down to .99 were buy one get one free. So... I bought one and got one for free.

I did not take any pictures of the Second Saturday Festival, but you can learn more about the participants by clicking HERE.

After Second Saturday ended, I made a quick pit stop by the Huddle House to visit a friend (who was having coffee) - then headed out to 'Pedal to the Park' event. Basically the city of Gray would like to turn an old school track into Turner Woods Park. I don't have all of the details, but I think it is an excellent idea!

Apparently some of the residents are not in favor of building a public park in their neighborhood. This is something I find to be absolutely ludicrous. First of all, the childhood obesity epidemic is ridiculous. Jones County is no exception. Not to mention, children need a place they can go and play. Some place safe. If safety is the concern of the citizens, I wonder if they are unaware of the amount of police officers swarming the city? I have never seen a place with more patrol cars roaming the streets. This is good for crime, bad if you go over the speed limit. ;-) I sincerely do not think crime will be a problem in this community and specifically at this park.

Crime and dangerous elements are not the problem. Sitting indoors and doing nothing-  is.

Here is a glimpse of the event:
First of all, Autumn got to showcase her fancy footwork by kicking a wood plank. She is studying Taekwondo under Charles Wilkerson and his group was out there showcasing the school. Autumn broke her first plank!! YAY! (PS - see my phone.. lol.. it is never far away.)

The event really got going with a Zumba demonstration. I just love Zumba, though I did not participate. I had on a sweater and flats... not exactly Zumba attire. How fun would it be if they offered a Zumba class at the park once a month or heck - weekly would be awesome! I would attend!

I met a few City Council members and the other supporters of Turner Woods Park. One ministry was offering free hot dogs and drinks.

More Zumba. I must admit, the whole event had a relaxed - happy vibe. After the Zumba and a Karate demo, the group got together for some flag football!

Part of Pedal to the Park was for everyone to gather downtown and ride their bicycles to the park.A bike shop was on hand with some beautiful bikes. I particularly liked THIS ONE!

Heather showcasing what her organization is all about.

We tried to take a pic together - but I was holding the camera and I am about 6 inches shorter than her.

Mom & Dad

You know I did. It's wrong.. but if it's wrong, I don't want to be right.

THEN.. after the event... I had to take myself on an "Artist's Date." If you read the previous post, you know that I needed to find some inspiration. What better place than outside in the woods during the fall?

So I took off for the only place I knew I could wander and not get lost... My parent's home. They live in the Oconee National Forest Area.

First I spent some time alone with Lovebug. When you spend time with a dog or cat, it immediately lowers your blood pressure. Dogs to me have such a joyful innocence about them.

Then I went exploring. They have several acres of land - mostly thick woods.. I went to seek out leaves that were changing.. here is a little of what I found!

Gardenias never smelled so sweet!

May parent's driveway - yep.. I told you it was country.

Finally - St. Francis guarding the woods.

There are more events coming up I hope to participate in, and of course, if you happen upon this post, and end up at these events - stop by and say hi!

December 1st there is the Miller-Mullis Art Exhibit at the WE Know Civic Center from 5:30-  7:30pm.

Decembr 6th there will be the Jaycees Christmas Parade, starting out on W. Clinton Street at 7pm.

December 10th is another Second Saturday Fest - this theme "Winter Wonderland" from 10am until 7pm.

December 17th - Hometown Christmas in Downtown Gray from 4 - 7pm.

Over all it was a good Saturday. There are some super nice community leaders, excellent business owners, and fabulous organizations put in place to make Jones County and specifically, Gray a better place to live.  What is obvious - Gray has lots of potential. The participation in events is less than optimal. As a marketing/communications professional - I think they need some good old fashioned buzz marketing. Place it where the people gather.... Do a little SWOT analysis...

Oh.. I could go on and on..

But that is not my job anymore. ;-)

1 comment:

TV's Take said...

Sounds like a nice relaxing weekend full of variety!


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