The Grand Columbus Whitewater Paddle

TheGrand.banner

On August 9th, the Georgia Conservancy and partners Uptown Columbus and Whitewater Express are putting a GRAND on the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia. To commemorate last year’s opening of the world’s largest stretch of urban whitewater and to celebrate the Chattahoochee’s reemergence in Columbus, join 1,000 adventurers on the river for a day of whitewater rafting.

What you’ll see during The Grand Columbus Whitewater Paddle would have been impossible just two years ago. Whitewater rafting in downtown Columbus?!

For more than one hundred years, the Eagle and Phenix, and City Mills dams impeded the southerly flow of the Chattahoochee and brought its once mighty rush to a snail’s pace as it passed through Columbus. Though hidden for decades, the rocky floor that rested beneath the calm waters was well known to those who understood the history of the city.

Whitewater Express PhotoThe treacherous shoals of the fall line, the geologic formation that divides Georgia’s piedmont and coastal plain regions, was the northernmost point of travel for vessels traveling the Chattahoochee and the perfect location for hydro-powered industry and inland markets. It made economic sense that river towns like Columbus, Macon and Augusta laid their foundations at the fall line. As the industrial age ignited across America, dams were built and mills were constructed along the river. At the heart of the Chattahoochee,where once there was a natural wonder, a thriving city rose.

In 2013, the dams came down. The power that they had produced was no longer needed to fuel the city’s economy. However, the economic potential of the long-submerged rocky shoals remained, and forward-thinking civic leaders knew that with an undammed river, the power of the fall line could again be harnessed.

It is now the outdoor adventurer, not the industrialist, who seeks the world-class, free-flowing rapids of the Chattahoochee – rapids that, for so long, lay silenced. With the opening of the Columbus whitewater course on the Chattahoochee in 2013 – the longest stretch of urban whitewater in the world – Columbus is again looking to its river to fuel the future.

Leading the action on the water for The Grand will be the experienced rafting guides and support team from Whitewater Express, the official outfitter for the Columbus whitewater.

Seven different rafting time slots will be offered at a deep discount for participants throughout the day from the first run at 10 a.m. to the last high water run at 5 p.m.

2014.Grand.Poster.Final.smallIn addition to the day’s events on the river, there will be plenty to do on land. Some of the available time slots also give guests the option to go on a guided Riverwalk bike tour for a small additional fee, and many of the groups involved in the event will have areas set up for fun and games.

Registration, while already deeply discounted, includes an invitation to an after-paddle party hosted at the Whitewater Express Outpost in Uptown Columbus and features live music from Sailing to Denver, local Columbus food trucks, an outdoor splash and play fountain, games, prizes, and activities hosted by the Atlanta Hawks Flight Team. Uptown Columbus will be shutting down the street for the after-paddle party between Whitewater Express and Woodruff Park at 1000 Bay Street.

All rafting guests and sponsors will receive a “drink ticket” for a free SweetWater beer (and a beer wristband) or a soft drink. The after-paddle party gets kicked-off at 5:30 p.m. and wraps up at 8:30 p.m. and includes a brief speaking engagement from Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

For those who wish to enjoy the evening without having paddled the river, tickets for the after-paddle party will be available to the general public for $5.

GC Logo JPEG MedTo continue its celebration of Columbus, the Georgia Conservancy is honoring civic leadership from the city with its Distinguished Conservationist award at ecoBenefete, the Conservancy’s annual gala, on September 26th for their vision of a city that embraces its natural amenities.

 

To register for The Grand Columbus Whitewater Paddle, please visit: www.georgiaconservancy.org/thegrand

Presenting sponsors for The Grand Columbus Whitewater Paddle are PricewaterhouseCoopers and TSYS.

Brian Foster kayakBrian Foster is Communications Director for the Georgia Conservancy. Founded in 1967, the Georgia Conservancy is a statewide, environmental nonprofit whose mission is to protect Georgia’s land and water through its programmatic work in sustainable growth planning; advocacy and outreach; coastal initiatives; outdoor stewardship and exploration; and public and private land conservation.

Come Home to Macon’s College Hill Corridor

Credit: College Hill Alliance

Credit: College Hill Alliance

With more than $90 million invested in Macon’s College Hill Corridor, a two square mile area between Mercer University and Historic Macon’s downtown business district about an hour south of Atlanta, through private and public investments, Knight Foundation Investments and Mercer University as well as investments by Macon-Bibb County, it’s no wonder this community is a hot bed for entrepreneurship and innovation while serving as the breeding ground for a hip hometown vibe. Thanks to the Corridor initiative, more than 100 jobs have been created within the area’s borders and Macon’s two largest employers in Macon are located here – the Medical Center of Central Georgia and Mercer University, home of the 2014 March Madness miracle Mercer Bears. It’s time to discover the magic that’s brewing in the Corridor.

Easily accessible from Atlanta, the Corridor greets visitors with a vibe as unique as the community’s concept. Sit for a spell at a neighborhood coffee shop and mingle with strangers who fast become friends. Shop locally at boutiques and meander through park after park of undulating green space throughout four long-ago planned communities, each complete with their own architectural style and story. Delve into history at Macon’s three historic house museum attractions: Hay House, Cannonball House and Sidney Lanier Cottage – each located in the Corridor. Take an urban hike with Rock Candy Tours, and gain a glimpse into the heritage of Macon’s music scene. Cheer on the 2014 March Madness miracle Mercer Bears during a home game. Stay on-campus at Mercer University’s Hilton Garden Inn, offering guests a fitness center and pool, or try The 1842 Inn for a luxurious getaway in an antebellum mansion. Plan to visit during one of the Corridor’s signature events, like April’s Magnolia Street Soapbox Derby or Second Sunday concerts, the second Sunday of every month, April through October.

Mark your calendar for these can’t-miss annual College Hill Corridor community events:

Second Sunday Concerts

Every second Sunday of the month, from April through October, expect one of the best community picnics in Macon featuring live music in beautiful Washington Park. The concerts are free to attend and feature a cash bar and food available for purchase. Picnics, lawn chairs and pets are welcome. Please refrain from bringing tents and grills though.

Second Sunday Concerts take place from 6-8 p.m.

July 13: The Grapevine

August 10: Same As It Ever Was

September 14: TBA

October 12: Clarence Carter

Sundown Screen Series

The Sundown Screen Series is hosted by Macon-Bibb Parks & Recreation and brings the big silver screen to the great outdoors. These free, outdoor movie events take place in spring, summer and fall at various locations in the Corridor. Movies are often shown in Tattnall Square Park but have also been shown in Riverside Cemetery, Coleman Hill and the Beall’s Hill Community Garden. Movie-goers are encouraged to bring snacks, blankets and lawn chairs.  

Mercer Village Block Parties

The Mercer Village merchants are starting new traditions in the Corridor with their regular block parties. These events are tied to holidays like Christmas and Mardi Gras as well as Mercer University sporting events like football tailgating, pep rallies and cheering on the Bears during tournament season with outdoor watch parties. The regular events invite the entire Macon and Mercer University community to join in the free activities that take place outdoors. The portion of Montpelier Avenue that runs through Mercer Village is closed for these events, which often feature inflatables, outdoor vendors and live music. www.MercerVillage.com

Stay connected: Find College Hill Corridor on Facebook.

Georgia Restaurant Association Award Nominees

New GRA Logo

The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) revealed the finalists for the 8th Annual Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards. These finalists are peer-nominated and the winners will be announced November 2nd at the GRACE. We are proud to

The GRACE Awards recognize and pay tribute to the leaders who have made outstanding contributions to Georgia’s restaurant industry. All finalists are peer nominated, which ensures that we honor the most deserving of our Industry. To learn more about the GRACE Awards, or purchase tickets, visit www.garestaurants.org/GRACE.

2014 GRACE AWARDS FINALISTS

Restaurateur of the Year

George Frangos and Jason Mann, Farm Burger

Neal McCarthy and Steven Satterfield, Miller Union

Jennifer and Ben Johnson, Shelley Sweet, West Egg Café, The General Muir, Fred’s Meat & Bread, Yalla and Todd Ginsberg, The General Muir, Fred’s Meat & Bread, Yalla
Industry

Partner of the Year

Fishbowl

Georgia Power

United Healthcare

Distinguished Service Award

Atlanta Community Food Bank

Chick-fil-A

Waffle House
The Innovator Award

Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow

Nick Melvin, Doux South and Venkman’s

Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor, Sobban

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Hal Nowak of Hal’s on Old Ivy

Chairman’s Award

Commissioner Gary W. Black, Georgia Department of Agriculture

For more information, ticket reservations, and/or sponsorship opportunities, visit the website at www.garestaurants.org/GRACE.

Georgia Tourism partnered with the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) to incorporate the association’s complete list of restaurants on www.exploregeorgia.org.

77 Ways to Celebrate Independence Day in Georgia

fireworks

Have a blast this July 4th with parades, games, cookouts and fireworks in communities all across the Peach State!

Historic High Country

July 3: 9th Annual Fireworks Display Extravaganza, Villa Rica 

July 3-6: 4th of July at Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth 

July 4: 1st Friday Broad Street Block Party, Rome 

July 4: Americana Fourth of July, Tallapoosa 

July 4: July 4th Freedom Fest, Woodstock

July 4: Flag Planting with Fairy, Adairsville

July 4: Independence Day Parade and Star Spangled Beach Party, Ellijay

July 5: Georgia Winery: Red, White & Blue Happy Hour, Ringgold 

Northeast Georgia Mountains

June 28: Pre-Fourth Craft Show and Festival, Hartwell 

June 27: Pre-Fourth Dancin’ on Depot, Harwell 

June 27: Fireworks Show at Lake Russell, Elberton 

June 28: Pre-Fourth Fireworks Extravaganza, Hartwell 

June 28: Jefferson Freedom Festival, Jefferson

July 3-4: July 4th Celebration in Cumming

July 4: Annual Fireworks at Dusk, Helen

July 4: 4th of July Family Fun Day Celebration, Dahlonega

July 4: Fireworks at Lake Rabun, Lakemont 

July 4: Fourth of July Celebration, Dillard

July 4: Independence Day Celebration, Blairsville

July 4: Blairsville Union County Fireworks Display, Blairsville

July 4: Independence Day at Vogel State Park, Blairsville 

July 4: 4th of July Celebration, Cleveland

July 4: Old Fashioned Fourth of July at Tugaloo State Park, Lavonia 

July 4: July 4th at Sky Valley, Clayton 

July 4: July 4th Celebration and Lake Lanier Islands, Buford

July 4: Celebrate Braselton 4th of July Festival, Parade & Fireworks, Braselton 

July 5: Lake Burton 4th of July Fireworks Celebration, Clayton 

Atlanta Metro 

July 3-5: Fantastic Fourth Celebration, Stone Mountain Park 

July 4: 4th of July Parade, Douglasville 

July 4: Independence Day Festival, Douglasville 

July 4: 4th of July Fireworks, Douglasville 

July 4: July 4th Celebration in Alpharetta 

July 4: 4th of July Ice Cream Social, McDonough 

July 4: Dunwoody Fourth of July Parade 

July 4: 4th of July at The Beach, Jonesboro

July 4: Mall of Georgia’s 12th Annual Fabulous Fourth, Buford

July 5: Salute to the Red, White and Blue Hometown Celebration, East Point 

Historic Heartland

July 3: Annual Independence Day Concert & Picnic, Madison 

July 4: Oconee County Independence Day Spectacular, Watkinsville 

July 4: Fun for the Fourth at Indian Springs State Park, Flovilla 

July 4: Ol’ Time Independence Day at Jarrell Plantation Historic Site, Juliette 

July 5: Classic City American Music Festival, Athens 

Classic South

July 4: Patriotic Bicycle, Golf Cart and Pet Parade at Mistletoe State Park, Appling 

July 4: July Fourth Bike Parade at Elijah Clark State Park, Lincolnton 

July 5: Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration at A.H. Stephens State Park, Crawfordville

July 5-13: Patriot Day & More, Warrenton 

Presidential Pathways

June 27-July 7: Avenue of Flags for Independence Day, Andersonville

June 28: Celebrate America, The Rock

July 3: July 3rd Celebration at Manchester Mill, Manchester 

July 4: Independence Day Celebration, Lumpkin 

July 4: July 4th Weekend Star Spangled Beach Party at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain 

July 4-6: July 4th Celebration on the Lake at Florence Marina State Park, Omaha 

July 5: Watermelon Express Train Ride, Cordele 

Magnolia Midlands

July 4: God & Country Fireworks Show, McRae 

July 4: Freedom Fest, Douglas 

July 4: Beach Blast, Dublin

July 4: 4th of July Celebration, Fitzgerald

July 5: Fourth of July Fun at Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge, Helena 

Plantation Trace

July 3: Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks, Tifton 

July 4: Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks, Thomasville 

July 4: July 4th Celebration, Bainbridge 

July 4-5: 4th of July Celebration at Reed Bingham State Park 

Coast

June 27-28: Freedom Rings in Rincon Festival and Parade, Rincon

June 28: Train Rides – America’s Birthday Express, St. Marys 

July 3: Fourth of July Fireworks on the Pier, Tybee Island 

July 4: Jekyll Island July 4 Celebration

July 4: Brunswick’s Old Fashioned 4th of July 

July 4: Independence Day Colonial Faire at Fort Morris Historic Site, Midway 

July 4: Cannons Across the Marsh at Fort King George Historic Site, Darien 

July 4: Train Rides America’s Birthday Express, St. Marys 

July 4: Independence Day Fun & Games at Laura S. Walker State Park, Waycross 

July 4: Waycross Jaycees, Fourth of July Celebration, Waycross 

July 4: Independence Day Celebration at Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill 

July 4-6: River Street Fourth of July Celebration, Savannah 

July 4: 4th of July Celebration, St. Marys 

July 4-6: 4th of July Sunshine Festival, St. Simons Island 

July 5: Holiday Weekend Gaslight Tour at Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, Savannah 

Six Family-Friendly Activities for Father’s Day

Dads like to have fun too!  Check out these family-friendly events for Father’s Day weekend.

DSC_0094 (3)Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta. Isn’t dad your Superhero?  Come dressed as your favorite character on Superhero Day and enjoy activities, games and cartoon screenings. June 14, 12N- 4pm.

 

 

Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs. Try stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, geocaching and more during “Get Outside Georgia Day.” June 14, 10 am to 3 pm.

Old Fort Jackson, Savannah. Experience the lives of soldiers stationed here during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War at this Father’s Day program. June 14-15, includes the daily cannon firings at 11 am and 2 pm.

gorilla_ozzie_ZA_smallZoo Atlanta, Atlanta. Free admission to Dad on Father’s Day with purchase of any full-price child’s (ages 3 to 11) or adult’s general admission ticket. Celebrate Ozzie the gorilla’s birthday at 10:30 am. June 15.

cloudland canyon by jbynum2 (800x533) (3)

Braves Country 5K, Atlanta. Includes a One Mile Fun Run (7 & older, open to adults) and Kilometer Kids Dash (6 & younger). 5K ends inside Turner Field. Each 5K registration includes a ticket to that evenings match-up against the Los Angeles Angels and a limited edition baseball tee. Advanced registration required.  June 14, 7:30 am.

Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn. Full Moon Hike on the darkened West Rim Trail. Watch the sun set on the west side the canyon, hike to the east side, then watch the moon rise. Ages 10 and up, advanced reservations required. June 13, 8 pm to 11 pm. 

 

Katherine writer_18Katherine Mikkelson is a freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys travel and food and writes about both on her blog StateEats.com, highlighting iconic food from our 50 states.