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Party like its Buggy Days with special event cocktail

Due to plumbing issues at the Depot Gallery and the subsequent lack of restroom facilities, the Buggy Days kickoff party, which was to be held there Thursday, has been canceled. A private, invitation only party for volunteers, sponsors and VIPs will be held from 5-7 p.m. at a private residence instead.

A public after party will go on as scheduled at Mangia on Main downtown from 7-10 p.m.

Throughout the festival, Mangia on Main and the Playpen Lounge will be serving a special Buggy Days cocktail featuring a handmade mixed berry syrup by J2, a new business venture by local bartenders. J2 will be selling their syrups and other goodies downtown during the festival in booth 13.

The cocktail also includes vodka, soda water and lemonade and will be served in a special Buggy Days commemorative cup.

Next year there will be a new downtown spot to celebrate Buggy Days. Joe and Cristy Sims have sold their downtown building to Robert Parlier and purchased the former Tommy’s building from Robyn Underwood. They will move their Georgia Hometown Realty office there.

Parlier has also acquired the old Toki building adjacent to the former real estate office and is tearing out the dividing wall to build out a sports bar.

On Saturday, Jim Graham of Balamo Building Supply on Taylor Street will host a concert featuring his legendary band Junkshun.

The Southern Creed Band will perform from 6-9 p.m. Saturday at the nearby special events area in front of the old B&L convenience store building at the corner of Taylor Street and College Drive. There will be a corn hole tournament there as well.

Just down the road at Summers Field, Al Cast will host Sound Wave, a rap/hip-hop extravaganza, from 6-9 p.m.

Soundwave features DJ Smooth, Roscoe Dash, Destiny Reeves, Elijah Parham, Juroses, Big Fwad, Rad, Slade Babies, Yung Blizzy, Sensitive Thugs and others. There will be food trucks and vendors on site.

The Buggy Days fireworks show will follow immediately after the concert at the park.

Buggy Days are here again

The 49th annual Buggy Days Festival kicks off this weekend with the annual Miss Buggy Days Pageant at the Fine Arts Center. Registration for pageant entrants has closed.

The main event week begins Tuesday, Sept. 12 with the return of Almost Anything Goes, a series of games pitting local teams against each other. The event starts at 6 p.m. at Summers Field Park.

The official festival kickoff party will be held Thursday, Sept. 14 at Mangia on Main from 7-10 p.m.

The big weekend gets underway at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 with the Buggython Road Race. There will be certified 5K and 10K road races and a two mile fun walk.

Early registration (postmarked by Sept. 6) fees are $20 for those 13 and over, $15 for those under 13 and $10 for the fun walk. After the early registration deadline, those fees go to $25, $20 and $10.

Sponsors are still being sought for the road race which will benefit the recreation department and Boys & Girls Club. For more information, contact Kathryn Green at 678.572.7723.

The traditional arts and crafts fair opens downtown at 9 a.m. and runs through 6 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday.

The Buggy Blast Kids Park will be open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday and noon – 5 p.m. Sunday in the United Bank parking lot. During those same hours and across the street in the Stafford Block parking lot there will be an area cordoned off for gellyball games and axe throwing.

A new venue this year is the special events area in front of the old B&L convenience store building at the corner of Taylor Street and College Drive. That area will host the car show from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Saturday and a corn hole tournament from 6-9 p.m. Saturday.

The Buggy Days parade will form up at the Gordon College parking lots of College Drive and hit the usual course at 2 p.m.

Soundwave, a musical extravaganza featuring multiple local acts, will be held Saturday evening at Summers Field Park. Attendees will have a front row seat for the fireworks show. Fuses will be lit at 9:30 p.m.

For more, visit

Rumfelt exhibit opens Friday at Depot Gallery

Local realtor and master of many art forms Dave Rumfelt will be feted Friday evening at the Depot Gallery on the occasion of the opening of his exhibit ‘Simply Bold’. The opening reception will be held from 6-8 p.m.

The exhibit, subtitled Expressions by Dave Rumfelt, runs through Oct. 15.

Rumfelt is an agent for Gold Crown Real Estate Services and lives in Barnesville. He is a singer, musician, artist and a former professional magician, among other things.

Grand opening at restored Collier Building set for Aug. 12

The public will get its first glimpse of the immaculate restoration work done at the historic Collier Building at the corner of Main and Market streets in downtown Barnesville during grand opening ceremonies set for Saturday, Aug. 12.

The building will be open for tours from 6-9 p.m. There will be a food truck onsite and artifacts and photos of the renovation will be on display.

This photo by Zach Westerfield shows the damaged lintel beam which had to be replaced.

The restoration is the latest project undertaken by Southern Venture Partners (SVP) and its co-founders Zach Westerfield and Milt Calloway. Westerfield grew up in Molena. He is the son of Robert and Carmen Westerfield. Carmen Westerfield spent decades as NRCS district conservationist for this area and worked out of the Barnesville office.

Calloway is a native of La Grange, Texas. Both he and Westerfield are graduates of the US Air Force Academy.

SVP purchased the building in October 2021 and, with the help of architect Dominus Vitae of Colorado, began planning its conversion into two commercial spaces fronting Main Street and seven loft-style apartments of various sizes in the remaining space. The larger of the two commercial spaces has already been leased. Those spaces will not be completed by the grand opening.

The 5,616 square foot building was built in the late 1800s by J. C. Collier who had various textile interests locally. Additionally, his family had a cotton plantation in the Piedmont District which was one of the largest in the state at that time.

The restoration of the Collier building turned up many artifacts, including these old ad bills, that will be on displayed at the grand opening Aug. 12.

“Although some records indicate the building was built in 1898, we have photos that show it as being completed as early as 1884. We believe the earlier date to be more accurate as we found documents in the building predating 1898. Some of those documents were stock certificates from the Oxford Knitting Company, the predecessor to the Collier Manufacturing Company,” Westerfield said.

As is the case with most restoration projects, problems presented themselves as the building was gutted.

“Once we got in there, we realized the building was in much worse shape than we initially thought. Most of the floor structure on the first floor was rotting and a lot of brick was deteriorating. All the mechanical systems were old and in disrepair,” Westerfield said.

As an historic renovation, the project was subject to rules and guidelines established by the federal Department of the Interior and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. That led to unique challenges.

“One such example was the requirement to save the original tongue and groove wall bisecting the first floor even though we had to pour concrete underneath it to secure the foundation,” Westerfield continued.

Another major hurdle was a rotting lintel beam which supported the entire brick facade on the front of the building. This caused the facade to sag.

“The building was only a year or two from falling into the street. The challenge was not just in designing a replacement beam but installing it without dropping the brick. That necessitated designing a custom support system that allowed us to install a new I-beam,” Westerfield added.

Westerfield stands in what will be the largest of seven loft apartments in the building. (Photo: Walter Geiger)

In addition to the aforementioned stock certificates, other items of interest were found during the demolition project. They include several hand-painted advertising bills of the type once posted around town and notary stamp from the 1890s. These and other gems will be on display at the grand opening.

As the celebration approaches, the building is a beehive of activity.

“We may still be touching up paint but we are having the grand opening. We hope everyone will come out and see what we have been up to behind those construction screens,” Westerfield concluded.

Roscoe is expanding

Roscoe the Rock Snake has taken over a patch of grass at the Lamar Arts Depot Plaza and is slowly growing. Everyone is welcome to paint a rock and add it to Roscoe.

If there are enough rocks, his sister Roxie may join in on the fun.

Independence Day events set at VFW, in downtown Barnesville

Food, fun and fireworks are on tap as the community celebrates Independence Day.

The local VFW Post will host its annual celebration Saturday, July 1 from 4 p.m.-midnight at the post home on Old Hwy. 41. It will include games for kids, entertainment, food and fireworks.

The Chamber of Commerce will host a July 4 version of its popular Chow Down Buggytown event from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the United Bank parking lot on Thomaston Street. It will feature food trucks, games, inflatables, local vendors and a free water park for kids sponsored by Advanced Roofing and Interiors.

Multiple events upcoming to benefit Relay for Life

Under the leadership of chairperson Kathryn Green, herself a breast cancer survivor, Relay for Life is back after a hiatus of some years and multiple events are scheduled over the summer leading up to the main event.

The main event weekend is set for Nov. 3-4. The Survivor Celebration will be held Friday, Nov. 3 from 6-8 p.m. at the Women’s Clubhouse. The actual Relay is set for Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 4-5 from 9 p.m. – 9 a.m. at Summers Field Park and is returning to the overnight format.

The opening ceremony is set for 6 p.m. Saturday and laps begin at 6:30 p.m. The closing ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Activities will include carnival-style games, food trucks, a health fair, cancer support group expo tables, a kids park and more.

There are multiple events scheduled in the months leading up to the main event.

A community yard sale is set for Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at First Baptist Church. Vendors are being sought. There is a $20 application fee and vendors are asked to donate 20% of sales to Relay for Life.

Barnesville businesses and the Downtown Development Authority will host a Ladies Night event Tuesday, July 18 from 5-9 p.m. A portion of sales will go to Relay.

A Small Fry Tri will be held Saturday, July 29 at the recreation department track. Kids ages 2-6 will compete in a triathlon style race which will include running, bikes, trikes and wagons and sprinklers.

The cost is $20. Each kid will get a t-shirt and medal. There will be music, inflatables and snacks.

For adults, a Texas Hold’Em poker tournament will be held at the Women’s Clubhouse August 12. The doors open at 5 p.m. and the dealing starts at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $150 and included dinner and two drink tickets. The winner will get $1000 with second place paying $500 and third place paying $250.

Tickets for those not playing poker are $25. There will be music and silent auction items to bid on.

For more information or to volunteer, call 678.572.7723.

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