Monday, November 30, 2009

Tuesday - Homeowner’s Night In Decatur with the Decatur Development Department

Homeowner’s Night In Decatur!

It’s our final Homeowner’s Night for 2009! On December 1st from 6-8 p.m., Decatur homeowners can come in and talk to the staff of the Development Department and find out about building permits, zoning, inspections, historic preservation incentives, and best building practices.

So make your list, check it twice, and come on in and we’ll talk about your house projects. Wouldn’t it be great if Santa placed a building permit under your tree this Christmas?

Contact Nathan Soldat for additional details at

Glenlake Park Update

The renovation of Glenlake Park is continuing and we anticipate an early '10 re-opening.

Forbes Magazine America's Best Parks

In Depth: America's Best City Parks

From botanical gardens to ice skating rinks, from jogging paths to bison paddocks, a great city park can contain multitudes. But beyond their physical features, the best urban oases may well be defined by a feeling.

"Your whole sense of place changes when you go into a successful city park," says Alan Tate, author of Great City Parks. "They give you a feeling of going away without leaving town."

Tate explains how Frederick Law Olmsted, the founding father of American parks, talked about the need for "long spaces that you could dream away in"--one of the prominent features, in fact, of the Long Meadow in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, which Olmstead designed with Calverty Bowyer Vaux shortly after the Civil War.

Olmstead's work, says Tate, "was very much based on the whole idea of the mental health effects of going into green space."

But if a great city park has a transporting effect, it must also be deeply connected to its urban surroundings.

Tuesday Table Tennis Canceled Dec. 1st

Table Tennis for Tuesday, Dec. 1st has been canceled. Play resumes next Tuesday at 8 pm. Play will start at 8 pm throughout the basketball season in December, January and February, and will resume at the 7 pm starting time in March.

Click HERE for an interesting article on table tennis. If you have any questions about Decatur Table Tennis, please e-mail Charlie Slater.

And click HERE for proof that table tennis is for all ages!

Decatur Rec. Center Schedule Change

The Decatur Recreation Center will be closed for maintenance on Wednesday, Dec. 2nd and will re-open at 12 pm on Thursday, Dec. 3rd. Please call 404-377-0494 for more information.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For Teens: Why Exercise is Wise!!

Walk to Stay Fit Over the Upcoming Holidays

Walking Articles And Workouts

Oakhurst Community Garden Project Membership Drive!

Oakhurst Community Garden Project Membership Drive Update

Thank you to the 120 new or renewing members that have joined since October 1st. Your support makes programs like the one described below possible. Our goal is 300 new/renewing members by December 31st. If you haven't supported your local community garden yet, please take a moment to do so today:

What does it mean to be a member of the Oakhurst Community Garden Project? Discounts to our classes (over 80 per year), first notification on special events or sales, and an opportunity to support
both our youth programs and greenspace. Memberships range from $35-$500, check out our website for membership level details.

Third graders discover that Compost Happens!

Recently, we hosted a "Compost Rots" workshop for third graders from three Decatur schools. The students discussed "do’s and don'ts" of what to add to a compost pile; explored insects that live there; collaborated on a worm compost bin for their classroom; dumped leaves into the bin for next year's compost; and sifted compost to create a fine addition to any garden bed or potting soil mix.

Next semester's workshop will include sowing plants from seed and how to plant a Spring garden. In January, our collaboration with the school will be spotlighted at the Decatur School Board meeting.

Your support makes programs like this possible. Every year we interact with over 600 youth. Vegetable gardening, environmental education, eating healthy, and exercising are all part of the fun. Join today!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Annual Youth Hoops Clinic - Thanks to the Decatur High Bulldogs & Coach Wilson!

Thanks to Decatur High School’s Varsity Boys Basketball team for conducting the Active Living’s Annual Youth Basketball Clinic. The day was filled with both fun and excitement as the players got the opportunity to work on their skills and fundamentals by learning High School practice drills. Shooting, lay-ups, dribbling, passing and of course learning to “take a charge” were only a few of the things that they learned.

The highlight of the evening, had to be the opportunity to have the clinic in Decatur High’s new Basketball facility. “I am just not ready to get onto the big floor” was what Ellis Callaway said as he sat in the stands with his mother.

Basketball Fact: Many of the Decatur High Schools Varsity basketball team players are former Decatur Active Living basketball players.

A special thanks to Decatur High School Athletics Director and Head Boys Basketball Coach Carter Wilson!

Safe Kids USA - Top 5 Tips for Safe Holiday Toy Shopping

Top 5 Tips for Safe Holiday Toy Shopping

Holiday Shopping Web 2009

Each year, more than 3 billion toys and games are sold in the United States, with 65 percent of these sales occurring between the day after Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas. Learn how to shop safe this holiday season by following these top 5 tips:

  • Before shopping for toys, consider the child's age, interest and skill level. A fun, but inappropriate toy for a particular child can be dangerous.
  • Keep toys with small parts away from children under age 3. They can choke on small toys and toy parts.
  • Shopping at a second hand shop this holiday season? Check to make sure kids' products and toys are safe and haven't been recalled.
  • Bikes or scooters make great holiday gifts. But remember that a helmet is a necessity, not an accessory when it comes to wheeled sports.
  • Consider alternatives to putting children in shopping carts including strollers and carts that have plastic mini-cars or trucks attached to the front or back. If you must use a cart, make sure your child stays seated and is secured by a seat belt.

Friday - Work off the Holiday Meal and Take a Stroll and Explore Oakhurst's History

Take a Stroll and Explore Oakhurst's History
Meet at One Step at a Time, 650-B East Lake Drive
3 p.m. Friday, November 27

Have you been meaning to take one of our historical walks of Oakhurst in the past but haven't been able to make it? Well, here's your chance. Some people who couldn't come in October have asked for another tour. So another one is coming up -- the day after Thanksgiving. It's a good opportunity to work off that Thanksgiving dinner while learning about some interesting events in our neighborhood. And if you've been wondering what to do with your visiting relatives, take them along.
A lot has happened in the Oakhurst area over the years, going back to the Civil War. The walk takes about an hour and a half, and it's free. Just send Jack Krost an RSVP at to let us know you're interested.

Decatur Bulldog Boosters Update on First Basketball Games at new Decatur High Gymnasium

Helping Our Student Athletes Bring Their "A" Game.

A Night Like No Other

Largest Crowd Ever Turns Out For Historic First Night at 'The Spike'

The first thing that crossed our minds late Friday afternoon, as the Decatur girls prepared to play the first varsity basketball game ever in our new gymnasium, the first on-campus game in nearly 50 years, was this: what would make a concise, piquant designation for this sparkling new venue. The official name, of course, is the Decatur High School Performing Arts Center and Gymnasium, but brother that's a mouthful. After all, Ted Turner Field is "The Ted," and Clemson's football field is Death Valley, the Decatur Recreation Center is The Rec, and Emory's Woodruff Physical Education Center is the Wood Pec.

So what to call our new arena? With apologies to Emory, "The Pac-Gym" came to mind, but that seems rather bland. It's important to note that when he helped design the floor and seating configuration, basketball coach and athletic director Carter Wilson wanted a distinctive color and emotional layout. He wanted to leave no doubt in the minds of opponents whose house they were visiting. Given that, we like "The Spike," simply because the Bulldog mascot is the most prevalent symbol displayed. It seems like he's everywhere you turn, most prominently at mid-court flashing those fine, white teeth. We like the idea of an opposing coach shaking his head and saying, "My gosh, we gotta go play at The Spike tonight," or, "We're gonna get thrown to The Spike tonight."

However, we don't want to take full responsibility here. If you, our faithful readers, have an idea for an arena nickname, write to the newsletter and we will publish your thoughts and maybe somewhere down the road take a vote. Does that mean such a nickname would grace the new arena's gleaming edifice facing McDonough St.? No it does not, but we think it would be fun coming up with one.

Meantime, Friday was quite a night, which included victories by both boys and girls teams, and a moving, finely-orchestrated between-games ceremony where five jersey numbers were unveiled (two of those "honored" and three previously retired) on the newly-minted "Wall of Honor." Also unveiled was the actual mid-court circle of the old gym, Decatur's home from 1941 to 1959, which was torn down nearly two years ago to make room for this new jewel. Finally, there was the largest crowd in the history of Decatur basketball. We don't have an official tally, though we'd guess in the neighborhood of 1200 to 1500. Maybe more. People were everywhere, the most impressive representation coming from students, many of whom stood near the floor wearing white and blue face paint and jumping around like those Cameron Crazies at Duke. Meantime, a number of folks chose to linger alongside the railing on the upper level. It was quite a sight, if you started at the floor and ran your eyes up the stands, taking in the full sweep of both end zone bleachers, and then finally to the top railing which extends the entire circumference of the arena.

"I think everything turned out exactly the way I wanted," said Coach Wilson, who's been associated with Decatur High as a student, player, assistant coach and head coach since the late 1960s. "I'm sure our players don't exactly understand the significance of what tonight was about. In fact, I probably don't fully comprehend it myself. But I suspect that in the coming weeks and years, the full impact will dawn on us, and in the end we'll have something we'll never forget the rest of our lives."

Less memorable was the actual game, a 70-41 thrashing of Tech High. Essentially only two things really stand out about the actual contest. First, all 12 players saw playing time on this historic first night, and better yet, all scored. Here's the breakdown: Chris Hawthorne-3 points; Shaq Baker-3; Ron Boyd-6; James Bradbury-5; Garrison Hardy-4; Dujon Parker-8; Mike Goodman-3; Trumon Jefferson-12; Cordele Jackson-6; DeAndre Smith-3; Nic Wilson-14; Cameron Parker-4.

Second, and probably nearly as historic as the actual night itself, was the fact that coach Wilson opened in a 2-3 zone. As he later told Nic, his visibly-shocked son, it was the first time in 30 years coaching he'd ever done that. When we asked him why in the world he chose to christen The Spike with a zone defense, he enigmatically remarked, "No comment. Let me just say there's a method to the madness." It seemed mostly the latter, especially when, midway through the first quarter, he switched to a 1-3-1- a zone defense that was all the rage in 1947 - and at this point we began thinking the coach had dipped a little too freely into the pre-game punch. The giddiness wore off in the second quarter when Wilson finally employed his trademark man-to-man. In truth, as far as Tech was concerned, it really wouldn't have mattered what defense Decatur played on this night.

The Bulldogs are now 2-0 heading into their rematch against St. Francis, a team they beat 57-45 last Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 this Tuesday at the new arena (or The Spike, or the Pac-Gym). Meantime, while you're thinking up potential nicknames, here's Decatur's upcoming schedule:

Nov. 24: St Francis, 7:30 (home)

Dec. 1: at Grady 7:00

Dec. 4: W.D. Mohammed 7:00 (home)

Dec. 8: Greater Atlanta Christian 7:00 (home-first regional game)


One of our favorite all-time films is the unparalleled 1970 comic masterpiece, "Evil Roy Slade." Man, we start laughing every time we think of this film. Evil Roy, played by John Astin, is the most evil man in the wild west. At one point late in the film, Roy waxes nostalgic about his very first bank robbery, where he frantically gathered mementos like the first safe he blew up, the first bank teller he slapped, the first baby he kicked, the first window he shot out, etc. "I was so busy gathering mementos," Roy told his gang, "I almost forgot to take the money and run."

With due respect to Evil Roy, here are some mementos from the first night at The Spike:

Very First Basket Ever: Isis Brown, 5-7 senior on the girls team, 45 seconds into the game

First Boys Basket: Trumon Jefferson, junior, 3-pointer 13 seconds into the game

First Dunk: Trumon, right-handed, on a breakaway with 5:59 left in the first quarter

First Missed Dunk: Trumon, also right-handed (give the young man credit; on this historic night, the naturally left-handed Trumon was consciously working on his game)

First Sibling Baskets: Sisters Jabreal Alford (senior) and Queen Alford (sophomore), both in the first period. Jabreil, incidentally, finished with 14 points, while Queen had 17.

First Official House Theif, Thus Earning the Unofficial Evil Roy Slade Award: Queen, who had eight steals.

First Basket by a Freshman: Cordele Jackson, 6-3 point forward, hit a free throw with two minutes left in the first half. In fact, Cordele scored the first 6 points of his career. Like Al Kaline, who never played single minor league baseball game, Cordele seems destined for greatness without playing a minute of freshman or junior varsity ball.

First Number Unveiled on the Wall of Honor: 10, worn by Don Keiser who played on the 1957 state championship team. Keiser, who now lives in Rome, grew up on McDonough St. near Pharr. He was the state's leading scorer his senior season, averaging nearly 24 points, and later went on to stardom at the University of Georgia. He is a very gracious and nice guy and still looks like he could nail a three pointer (which they didn't have in his day).

On Numbers Honored and Retired

There may be some confusion regarding the nuances of a number retired vs. a number honored. Let's try to clear this up. Here are the three officially retired basketball numbers at Decatur High, each retired after the player's senior year, and none will ever be worn again:

  • Don Keiser, #10, number retired in 1957.
  • Mike Dickerson, #22, retired 1972. Dickerson, among the several school records he still holds, scored a single-game high of 54 points. "I know how many points he scored," Carter Wilson said, "because I fed him most of those passes."
  • Herb White, #32, retired in 1965 - White played for Georgia and the Atlanta Hawks and was once roommates with Pete Maravich.

These two numbers were officially honored Friday, but they will remain active:

  • Pearl Worrell, #24, graduated 1972 (she passed away in 2005, and her plaque was accepted by her daughter Monica Trimble).
  • Melvin "Hollywood" Howard, #20, graduated 1983.

Coach Wilson has said he doesn't want to retire more numbers because eventually there won't be any good ones left. Although, after everything was said and done Friday night, he did say, "I guess I should never say never. I might reconsider if somebody were to turn into a beast and lead me to the state championship."

Upcoming Events

Directions to all opponents' sites may be found on the DHS and RMS sports Web pages and the CSD Web calendar

Monday, 23 November

  • DHS SLT Meeting, DHS Media Center, 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, 24 November

  • JV Boys Basketball vs. St. Francis, DHS Gym, 4:30 p.m.
  • V Girls Basketball vs. St. Francis, DHS Gym, 6:00 p.m.
  • V Boys Basketball vs. St. Francis, DHS Gym, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 25 November - Sunday 29, November: Thanksgiving Break

Vicki Ainslie

Decatur Bulldog Boosters

Friday - Championship Chess here in Decatur!

Championship Chess and the Atlanta Chess Ctr. Chess Camp & Scholastic Tournament
Camp: Friday, November 27, 2009
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
The Church Of Decatur Heights
735 Sycamore Drive, Decatur, GA 30030
Everyone who attends must know how to complete a full game with checkmate. At camp, players will study openings, great games, tactics, and endgames. They will participate in a variety of competitions: consultation games, simuls, and puzzles.
Tournament: Saturday, November 28, 2009
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Atlanta Chess Center
3155 East Ponce de Leon Ave.
Scottdale, GA 30079
This is a rated tournament in 4 sections: Special Grade 1 and below; Grade 3 and below; Grade 6 and below; and, Middle/HS. If you are not a current member of the USCF, you can pay $20-$25 to join at the tournament.
The camp is open to the first 60 registered via email to Registration is being accepted now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

News & Notes from the DeKalb County Board of Health

DeKalb County Board of Health

The DeKalb County Board of Health's Office of Emergency Preparedness will host a mass novel H1N1 vaccination clinic on Saturday, Nov., 21,2009 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at DeVry University (former campus), 250 North Arcadia Road, Decatur, GA 30030. A vaccine supply of 2,500 injectable novel H1N1 doses will be administered to people in priority risk groups. The priority groups are:

* Pregnant women,

* Healthcare and emergency medical staff with direct patient care,

* People who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months,

* Anyone from 6 months to 24 years of age and

* Anyone from 25 to 64 years who has a medical condition.

For people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes getting both your seasonal and novel H1N1 vaccine is critical. People with chronic illness my have greater health complications if they get the flu. Persons in priority groups will be served on a first come, first served basis. There is no fee for the novel H1N1 vaccine. However, an administrative fee may be charged to Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance. Please bring your card at the time of service. Also, please bring your child's immunization record. For more information, call (404) 508-7880 or visit

Live Healthy DeKalb is a group of DeKalb County organizations and residents working together to create a healthier DeKalb County. The mission of Live Healthy DeKalb (LHD) is to build a community network through collaboration and partnership to improve the health of those who live, work and play in DeKalb County. Live Healthy DeKalb's vision is "Healthy people living in healthy communities". Join a committee and make a difference!! For more information, call 404.508.7985.

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) created the H1N1Influenza Vaccine Provider Locator to inform Georgia residents abou twhich health care providers will provide the H1N1 vaccine as supplies become available.

The allocations the state has received thus far have been small in comparison to the number of providers registered to administer the vaccine. This is why it is so important for anyone wishing to receive the vaccine to contact his or her family doctor's office or health care provider before making an appointment or traveling to the provider's office.

For the DeKalb County Board of Health, you can check the Seasonal/Novel

H1N1 Flu Hotline number at (404) 508-7880 or visit for the most up-to-date information regarding vaccine availability and priority groups being served.

Currently, there is only a limited supply of seasonal flu vaccine. The DeKalb County Board of Health has administered more than 12,500 doses of seasonal flu. Currently, there is only about 900 to 1,000 doses of live nasal spray novel H1N1 for persons ages 2 to 24 years old. Please contact the nearest health center. You can call (404) 294-3700 for health center information. All the health care providers listed on the

DeKalb Safe Communities Reminds Residents to Drive Focused, Drive Smart, and Get Home Safely

We pride ourselves on the ability to multi-task, but practicing this skill while driving poses too much of a risk. A recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that distracted drivers cause 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near crashes. The fact that there is a traffic-related injury every 10 seconds and a roadway death every 12 minutes is staggering enough to force us all to take heed of the following traffic safety and greener, more efficient driving tips endorsed by this year's Drive Safely Work Week campaign. Let's all strive to arrive home safely to our loved ones.

* Look at the big picture. Making or receiving a phone call while driving makes you four times more likely to be involved in a crash. Before choosing to divert your attention, take a moment to focus on those awaiting your safe arrival home.

* Ease the pressure. If expecting an important call, program yourphone with a special ring tone for that number alerting you when to pull over to take the call.

* Buckle it up. Secure all cargo you may be transporting including pets, and most importantly, buckle yourself in on every trip.

* Increase your following distance. A 4-second following distance increases visibility and provides more reaction time.

* Texting and driving don't mix. There is no way to safely drive while texting. Even if you think you are expert enough that you don't need to take your eyes off the road, your mind is off the road and your hands are off the wheel.

* Watch your speed. For every 10 mph you travel over 60 mph, your fuel economy drops by approximately four miles per gallon.

* Have a flight plan. Don't wait until you are driving to plan your route.

* Give your tunes a tune-up. Digital music devices (iPods, mp3 players) can pose a major distraction. Pre-set a driving playlist to provide continuous tunes without the need for adjustments.

* Accelerate gently. Quick starts and sudden braking can reduce fuel economy by as much as 33 percent.

* Know when to use your A/C. At 40 mph and above, using your A/C is more efficient because it doesn't disrupt the vehicle's aerodynamics. Below 40 mph, open windows offer better efficiency.

* Lighten the load. Avoid keeping unnecessary cargo in your vehicle. An additional 100 pounds reduces your miles per gallon by up to 2 percent.

* Close the cap. Make sure your gas cap is always properly secured. You could save up to 30 gallons per year in evaporated fuel.

* Time for a change. Change your oil regularly, around the 3000-mile interval, depending on how you drive your vehicle. You'll keep your vehicle running efficiently and possibly reduce the amount of waste oil.

In an effort to help residents drive safer and smarter, Safe Communities has enlisted the assistance of students at one of DeKalb's high schools to provide basic vehicle maintenance checks. Automotive service students from DeKalb High School of Technology South will be conducting the inspections that will include oil level, tire pressure and tread as well as the condition of the air filter on vehicles. A vehicle that is properly maintained is significantly more fuel-efficient than a vehicle that is neglected. Look out for upcoming dates and locations.

Please take a moment to complete the attached survey to assess your own risk of becoming a distracted driver. You do not have to share the results. They are for your eyes only, so be honest. It could help to change behaviors that could possibly save your life.

For additional traffic safety information, contact Astrid Wilkie-McKellar at 404 294-3758 or

FREE GA Tobacco Quit Line materials available for distribution

Driven by the highest-ever federal tax increase on tobacco products, GA smokers are trying to quit smoking in droves. Based on this incentive to kick the habit, now is a great time to advertise the GA Tobacco Quit Line at worksites, churches, schools, etc. To receive brochures to advertise this FREE service available to all Georgians, contact Eryn Marchiolo at

DeKalb Medical offers free smoking cessation program

DeKalb Medical Center is offering a free program to help smokers kick the habit. Every Friday, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., DeKalb Medical is hosting "Nicotine Anonymous", a 12-step program, for anyone who wants to quit smoking. The program is being held a the hospital's main campus,

2701 North Decatur Road. No registration is required. For more information, call 404.244.8444 or 404.501.WELL.

St. Joseph's, Perimeter Mall team up for free blood pressure screenings

Saint Joseph's Hospital is offering free blood pressure screenings every first and third Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., at the lower level of Perimeter Mall. The hospital is offering the screenings to help combat high blood pressure, often called "the silent killer" because symptoms may not be present or recognized, until a medical condition occurs. Nearly 63 million Americans have high blood pressure, but an estimated 46 percent do not know they have it. Perimeter Mall is located at 440 Ashford Dunwoody Road, NE. For more information call 678.843.5112.

Do you want to get the word out about your event or topic of interest? Forward your chronic disease prevention and health related events/news you would like to share with.

Avian Wynn

Secretary II

DeKalb County Board of Health

Health Assessment & Promotion

Office of Chronic Disease Prevention

445 Winn Way--P.O. Box 987

Decatur GA 30031

404.294.3803 Phone

404.294.3842 Fax

Decatur Farm to School Announcement

City Schools of Decatur

Decatur, Georgia 30030

City Schools of Decatur (CSD) is pleased to announce that the CSD Board of Education unanimously approved the action plan of the Decatur Farm to School (DF2S) Initiative at its most recent meeting. The approval of the action plan means that CSD and DF2S partners will continue their planning efforts and provide opportunities for the entire school community to participate in the Farm to School program. You should anticipate future communication about this new initiative and the voluntary opportunity to participate in the program. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved now, please visit

The Decatur Farm to School Initiative is a grassroots effort led by parents, teachers, school administrators, community members and organizations. Farm to School programs connect schools with local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias and providing educational opportunities for the entire school community on nutrition and gardening. Farm to School is a natural response to growing concerns over childhood obesity, the viability of the American family farm, and the environmental impact of our consumption patterns. Farm to School connects these concerns with a solution that can have benefits for students, farmers, schools, and communities alike.

Initial plans for the Decatur Farm to School Program include:

  • Edible school gardens, planted and maintained by students, teachers, parents, school staff and community members
  • An increase in the number and types of fresh, local foods served in schools
  • Integrated curriculum resources to leverage learning around nutrition, science, biology, math, social sciences, and local community resources
  • Farm field trips and farm education that explore local economics, biological systems, local environmental issues and the holistic connection that links food, health, and the environment
  • Hands on food preparation and taste-tests featuring fresh, local foods and local chefs
The Initiative team formed as a result of parental involvement with the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center PTA Nutrition Committee. Motivated by the desire to improve school nutrition program options in the 0-3 and Pre-K program, parents connected with community-based organizations, namely Georgia Organics, to develop an initial proposal on Farm to School potential within the City Schools of Decatur and presented this plan to the CSD Board of Directors in April 2009. The team was given initial approval to explore the program's potential by the Board and ask to develop a 3-year plan.

The Decatur Farm to School Initiative Team subsequently held a town-hall meeting (May 2009) and established a set of committees to provide recommendations on a comprehensive plan. The Decatur Farm to School Initiative Team began by soliciting input at a Town Hall meeting and then organizing into seven committees to reflect the anticipated activities of the Decatur Farm to School program and plan around those activities. Activities include both core activities for the program (menu revitalization, procurement, curriculum integration, and partner outreach) as well as ancillary or support functions (fundraising, communications, and research and evaluation).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Go for the Holidays in Georgia's State Parks

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Georgia State Parks are making it easy and affordable for you to enjoy family time this holiday season. Come celebrate in Georgia’s great outdoors with a cornucopia of festive events, diverse recreational opportunities, and hotel-style lodge rooms with special winter rates.

Looking for budget-friendly activities to do with the kids during school break? Head to the parks for everything from visits with Santa to Christmas tree displays. Below is a sampling of the holiday festivities, and a complete calendar is listed at

Appalachian Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 26, 11 a.m.

Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge - Dawsonville

Experience a traditional Thanksgiving buffet with old-fashioned fun. Displays and Appalachian cultural demonstrations will be presented at the lodge. Reservations for the Thanksgiving buffet are required (space fills quickly). Ask about lodge room availability. $5 parking. (706) 344-1505.

2009 Festival of Trees

Friday, November 27 through Saturday, December 12,

Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen

View beautifully decorated trees throughout Unicoi Lodge. This event is hosted by White County Chamber of Commerce. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

Christmas Open House

Saturday, December 5, 4 p.m.

Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge - Dawsonville

Enjoy musical performances and gingerbread house creations, and then go for a winter hayride. Afterwards warm up by the fire and visit with Santa. Save time for a meal in the park’s mountain-view restaurant. $5 parking. (706) 265-1969.

Deck the Halls of Unicoi

Saturday, December 5, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen

This celebration includes making holiday crafts, hayrides (weather permitting), visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a special meal in the park's restaurant, and an evening of live music in the beautifully decorated lodge. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

Christmas on the Pond

Saturday, December 12, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

General Coffee State Park – Nicholls

Storytelling, hayrides, refreshments and Santa himself will usher in the holiday season. $5 parking. (912) 384-1581.

Plantation Christmas at Jarrell Plantation

Saturday, December 12, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette

Take an afternoon stroll through two of the Jarrell family homes with traditional decorations and natural greenery. Stories, music and refreshments included. $3.50-$5. (478) 986-5172.

Luminary Fun Night with Santa

Saturday, December 19

Skidaway Island State Park – Savannah

Bring your kids and pets for pictures with Santa, then walk our enchanted luminary trail, do holiday arts and crafts, and enjoy caroling on hayrides. There will be holiday treats, hot chocolate and warm cider while you explore our nature museum with wildlife, fossil exhibits and live animals. $3 picture with Santa, $5 parking. (912) 598-2300.

Stay Overnight

Families travelling for an extended holiday can choose from a variety of lodging options at Georgia's State Parks. Accommodations include modern campsites, fully equipped cottages, memorable yurts and even hotel-style lodges. Lower winter Lodge-ical Rates begin at $59 at George T. Bagby State Park on Lake Walter F. George, Little Ocmulgee State Park in McRae and Red Top Mountain State Park on Lake Allatoona, and $69 at Amicalola Falls State Park near Dawsonville and Unicoi State Park near Helen. Some blackout dates apply. Call 1-800-864-PARK (7275).


For help in planning a holiday staycation, visit or call 1-800-864-PARK (7275). Georgia’s 48 state parks are operated by the Department of Natural Resources.