Friday, May 8, 2015

How To Have a Fun & Memorable Family Outing For Free (or Almost Free) in Gwinnett County

Gwinnett County is a sprawling metropolis with an ethnically and culturally diverse population. A high influx of families are choosing to relocate to Gwinnett due to the county's excellent school system, thriving business, cultural, and recreational opportunities offered. I often get asked  where can families take their kids for fun that doesn't cost a fortune. To facilitate this information I have gathered the top 5 things you can do free (or almost free) for a fun and memorable family outing.

1. Free Bowling, Skating and Tokens for Games:

  • Sparkles of Gwinnett is offering a great deal for the summer to help your kids stay happy and healthy. They lowered the price of the skates and admission during the summer. Also, every Tuesday night during the months on June and July, they are offering free admission to families. Sparkles of Gwinnett is popular place to skate, play laser tag, and celebrate birthdays.

  • Kids Bowl For Free at Lawrenceville's Stars and Strikes. This is a nationwide initiative that allows selected bowling centers and schools around the country to give back to the community by providing a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time this summer. Children whose age does not exceed a limit by a participating bowling center are eligible to register for 2 free games a day, all summer long, courtesy of the participating bowling centers along with the schools and organizations. The trick is that you must register online so you can get your passes by email.

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton 2nd annual Family & Pet Fire Safety and Disaster Preparedness Event

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton is hosting their 2nd annual Pet Fire Safety and Disaster Preparedness event to help educate the public about pet fire safety and disaster preparedness. Home fires are the most common disaster and also the most preventable. According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires.

The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a fire is to include them in your family plan. This includes having their own disaster supplies kit as well as arranging in advance for a safe place for them to stay if you need to leave your home. In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too.

National Pet Fire Safety and Disaster Preparedness event is open to the public and no charge to attend! Sunday, July 12th from 12:00pm until 4:00pm. Again there are no fees to come down and enjoy a nice day with your pets and family. 

Location: Mansell Oaks Plaza, 900 Mansell Rd. Roswell, Georgia 30076
Phone number: Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton 770-594-2266
When: Sunday, July 12th 2015
Time: 12:00pm-4:00pm

We welcome you to bring your pets and ask that you keep all dogs on a leash. Please keep in mind if you decide to bring your furry loved ones, that this event will be in a parking lot and that your pets feet will be exposed to the HOT parking lot.

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton is hosting this event in the parking lot outside their facility at 900 Mansell Rd. Roswell Ga. 30076.

Get a Free Book When You Attend PageTurners Summer #URit Read-A-Thon Event

Page Turners, in partnership with PNG
#URit Summer Read-A-Thon Series

Page Turners Make Great Learners & PNC Bank is hosting a summer read-a-thon series during the month of June. #URit! Who's getting caught with a book this summer? They will host free reading events at various locations in Atlanta. All events are open to the public and all kids who participate will receive a FREE book to keep! Featured authors include, Christy Ziglar, Carmen Agra Deedy and The Learning Groove's Michael Levine.

Mcdonald’s Customers Raise Funds For Atlanta Ronald Mcdonald House Charities Children And Families

ATLANTA, GA – Starting May 1 through May 31, Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities (ARMHC) is encouraging Metro-Atlanta to support Lovin’ #forRMHC by visiting a participating McDonald’s restaurant and purchasing a paper Heart for $1, $3 or $5.

Proceeds from every Heart purchase will go directly to supporting ARMHC and its mission of providing temporary housing and support services to families of sick and injured children being treated at local hospitals. Last year, more than $168,000 was raised from 300 Atlanta area restaurants.

Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities offers services and programs that strengthen families of sick kids during difficult times and provides them with comfort, care and support,” said Beth Howell, President and CEO of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities. “The continued support of McDonald’s and its customers through programs like Lovin’ #forRMHC ensures we’re able to keep families together and allow them to focus on what matters most, the healing and recovery of their child.”

Memorial Day American Red Cross Blood Drives: Be Proud to be a Donor at Mall of Georgia and Town Center at Cobb (May 23-25)

WHAT:          Celebrate the Freedom to Give Blood this Memorial Day Weekend!
The American Red Cross will host two blood drives this Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, at the Mall of Georgia and Town Center at Cobb.

Why get involved? 
Here are some quick facts about the process, courtesy of the American Red Cross:
·         Blood cannot be manufactured — it can only come from generous donors.
·         Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration and medical history, mini-physical, donation and refreshments.
·         Shortages of all blood types usually occur during the summer and winter holidays—so now is the time to give!
·         One donation can help save the lives of up to three people!
·         The American Red Cross supplies approximately 45% of the nation's blood supply.

WHEN        Mall of Georgia: 3333 Buford Drive, Buford, GA 30519
/WHERE: Upper Level near Dick’s Sporting Goods
May 23-25, 12-5 p.m. 

                  Town Center at Cobb: 400 Barrett Pkwy, Kennesaw, GA                                 30144 Sears Court May 23-25, 12-5 p.m.

HOW: Log on to to schedule an appointment in advance. Enter the code ‘moga’ for Mall of Georgia or ‘tcac’ for Town Center at Cobb.

For more information on these events at Mall of Georgia and Town Center at Cobb, please visit and

For more blood donation facts, visit the American Red Cross online at

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gwinnett Braves Host 2015 Youth Baseball Camps

Two camp sessions at Coolray Field now open for registration

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Gwinnett Braves have officially opened registration for 2015 Youth Baseball Camps at Coolray Field. The G-Braves will be holding their annual three-day baseball camps in June and July.

There will be two separate sessions of three-day camps. The first session will run from June 22-24, while the second and final session will run from July 27-29. Gwinnett Braves’ players and coaches will provide youth players with hands-on instruction in basic fundamentals like hitting and pitching and specialized skills like bunting and base-running.

Both sessions are open for kids ages 8-14 and will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day. All participants will receive a 2015 Gwinnett Braves Youth Baseball Camp T-Shirt at the beginning of camp. Lunch will be provided at the conclusion of each day. On the final day, G-Braves’ players and coaches will gather for autographs and pictures. 

Aurora Theatre Announces Children’s Playhouse Summer Shows

Great lineup of shows for camp groups and individuals looking for family friendly entertainment

Aurora Theatre celebrates the best child performers in the region, bringing them to Gwinnett County for the Aurora Children’s Playhouse, May 28- June 24! The summer performances feature five spectacular acts and will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., with a Thursday performance opportunity on May 28. Aurora Children’s Playhouse: Summer Edition welcomes local families to attend and offers special bus-in group rates for churches, camps and daycare organizations.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spellabration Combines Adult Spelling Bee and Scrabble Tournament to Raise Funds  for Literacy Action 

Do you have a way with words? Put your spelling skills and Scrabble talents to the test on June 4, 2015 for the annual Spellabration to benefit Literacy Action, Georgia’s leading provider of adult education. Hosted at the Fabulous Fox Theater, Spellabration is a unique celebration of literacy including a speed Scrabble Tournament and a Spelling Bee.

The evening begins with a Spelling Bee, followed by a round of Speed Scrabble. Two more entertaining and taxing Bees and then onto the final Scrabble round. Many of the region’s top companies purchase tables and send teams to compete. King & Spalding LLP has won the completion the past two years. 

Literacy Action builds better futures for undereducated adults by teaching literacy, life and work skills that empower them to reach their highest potential,” said Austin Dickson, executive director of Literacy Action, “We look forward to bringing together Atlanta’s top companies for an exciting and competitive Spellabration that celebrates our students, volunteers and literacy.”

In an effort to increase awareness of the importance of adult literacy, Literacy Action has developed “Ready to Read, Ready to Work; Five Literacy Issues to Watch in 2015” which outlines some of the statewide issues of concern around adult literacy. Some of the key statistics highlighting the importance of adult literacy include:

The 1.2 million Georgians over 25 without a high school diploma cost the state an estimated $3 billion per year or about 7% of the FY15 state budget. Currently, 3 out every 10 students sitting in a high school classroom will not graduate with a diploma.

Every four years, Georgia is producing approximately 37,500 high school dropouts, a population that if put together would be the 17th largest municipality in the state, just edging out Rome. Only 19% of parents without a high school diploma volunteer in their child's school. Volunteer rates increase dramatically with higher education levels.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

1,000-foot waterslide coming to Decatur #SlideTheCity

There is a super cool event coming to the city of Decatur in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Decatur Business Association. Slide The City is a family fun day in the sun featuring a 1,000ft waterslide that will stretch down W. Ponce de Leon Avenue, from Clairemont Avenue to Ponce de Leon Place. Slide the City takes the concept of the backyard Slip'N Slide and super-sizes it. The event is not free and you need to register online. For more information please visit: 

Celebrate National Train Day with SAM Shortline's "Touch-A-Train" event!

A day full of fun and family-friendly activities at the Georgia Veterans State Park - SAM Shortline Depot. Call for more information.
Come celebrate National Train Day at the Cordele-Crisp "Touch-A-Train" event presented by SAM Shortline!

Young and old will be able to get up close and take pictures with our train, including our Heart of Georgia engine and the train conductors. Other equipment will be on display including tractors and big trucks too. There will also be oppportunities to take a short train ride over Lake Blackshear.

There will be plenty of activities including bouncy houses, putt-putt golf, bean bag toss and plenty of great food! Meet Smokey the Bear, the Chick-Fil-A Cow and the Georgia State Parks Gopher!

Event is Saturday, May 9th from 10am to 4pm at our Georgia Veterans State Park Depot in Cordele, Georgia at beautiful Lake Blackshear! Admission is $2 per person (under 2 free). Train rides over Lake Blackshear are $5 per person (under 2 free)

This National Train Day event is sponsored by:
Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
SAM Shortline Excursion Train
City of Cordele
Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
Operation Lifesaver of Georgia

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fox Theatre Announces The Fox Theatre Block Party, a FREE Atlanta Celebration on Sunday, June 7

Peachtree and Ponce Celebration Is a Thank You to Atlanta for Saving the Theater

The Fox Theatre proudly announces The Fox Theatre Block Party on Sunday, June 7 from noon – 6 p.m. The celebration is a thank you to Atlanta for supporting the Save the Fox campaign in 1974-1975 and an opportunity to share the icon with a new generation of fans.

In 1974, the future of the legendary Fox Theatre was uncertain. Citizens rallied to “Save the Fox” and raised $1.85 million to restore the beloved Atlanta landmark, resulting in the Fox’s triumphant return in 1975 as an opulent performance venue.

The block party will provide guests the opportunity to experience the magic of the Fox through live entertainment on two stages, special tours, food and drinks, activities, and prizes. Confirmed music includes Francine Reed, Bogey & the Viceroy, Orquesta MaCuba, and Tribute – A Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band. More acts will be announced closer to the event.

We’re excited to turn the theater inside out for the party,” said Fox Theatre Vice President and General Manager Adina Erwin. “We’re bringing the thrill of the Fox outdoors, and we invite all of Atlanta to rock the block with us and celebrate!”

The block party will take place rain or shine at the intersection of Peachtree Street NE and Ponce de Leon Avenue, an area that historically represents the heart of Atlanta. Both streets at the intersection will be closed to vehicle traffic; the main entrance will be at Peachtree Street NE and 3rd Street NE.

Also planned are multiple social media Q&A’s leading up to the block party. Random winners can win prizes including drink and food vouchers during block party, 40thanniversary Save the Fox merchandise, Fox Theatre tour vouchers, and more!   Please follow us at and our official event hashtag #FoxBlockParty for more details. 

The block party will be free and open to the public. Current sponsors for the event include Budweiser/Atlanta Beverage, Georgia Natural Gas, Lexus, Regions and AT&T.

For more details, including FAQ and sponsorship opportunities, visit:

DeKalb Choral Guild Spring Concert at Fernbank Planetarium

The DeKalb Choral Guild, in partnership with the Jim Cherry Memorial Planetarium, presents a choral concert inside the Fernbank Planetarium on Friday, May 8th, 2015, at 8:00 pm. “Sure Stars Shining” is a concert of songs about the night sky presented under the night sky. Stars will twinkle and dance on Fernbank’s dome, and other images of the universe will appear and recede, while the guild sings songs highlighting this stellar theme. Of particular note on the program is Eriks Esenvald’s “Stars,” which uses wine glasses as accompaniment. Other works include David Dickau’s “Stars I Shall Find,” Randall Thompson’s “Choose Something Like a Star,” and Imant Raminsh’s “In the Night We Shall Go In.”

The evening’s highlight will be a song composed specifically for this chorus and concert by N. Grant Pfeifer. This work, titled “The Voiceless Silence,” is a setting of poetry by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Pfeifer’s “A Star,” which sets poetry by Grace Noll Crowell to music, is also on the program.

The DeKalb Choral Guild is now in its 37th year and attracts singers from across metropolitan Atlanta to perform 4-5 concerts per season under the direction of music director and conductor Mary Evelyn Root. “Sure Stars Shining, Songs of the Night Sky under the Night Sky” promises to be a unique and enjoyable evening of choral music and starry contemplation. Tickets are $5 for ages 18 and under, $7.50 ages 19 and up, and available at

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