Another spring is here, although it is getting off to a slower start than usual with cold weather still putting in the occasional appearance. Despite the cooler than normal temps, things as usual are heating up in the greater Butts County community and there is much to be excited about in our small corner of the world.

First, a familiar annual event, the Dauset Trails Bluebirds and Bluegrass Festival on April 21st, is up for its 18th year and promises to be a fun family day for all.  This free event features live bluegrass bands starting at 11:00 am and includes JR and the Apostles of Bluegrass, Grassville, Jess Darsey and Cabin Point Bluegrass. There will also be a Dulcimer Jam Session inside the Visitors Center from 1-3 pm, as well as the opportunity to see outdoor recreation clubs and learn about the experiences you can gain through their activities. G&R Rockclimbing Adventures will have fun activities for a fee. Watch Georgia 10th Volunteer Infantry reenactments and blacksmithing demonstrations and more! The main gate will open at 9:00 AM and admission is free!

Dauset Trails will also bring back “Movie Under The Stars” to feature “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” on May 5th with showtime beginning at 8:30 PM. This is also a free event, though concessions will be sold on the premises. Those attending should plan to bring their own chair or blanket.

Then on June 9th, they will be featuring the annual Fishing Rodeo, and all you need to bring is your own bait and tackle to fish. Keep whatever you catch, free of charge. Please note the main gate will open at 7:00 am and the fishing ends at noon. Of course there is always something to do and see at Dauset Trails, so make plans to visit soon and you might even get to see General Beauregard Lee, Georgia’s famous weather groundhog while you’re there!

On May 3rd, Griffin Choral Arts will be hosted by the Village at Indian Springs Amphitheater with a musical extravaganza called “Island Time“. Beginning at 7:30 PM, you can leave behind the stress of schedules, deadlines, and alarm clocks and enjoy island time. Be transported to a Caribbean paradise, were tiki torches replace fluorescent lights and where the sunset casually brings on the moon and stars, shimmering on the ocean waves. The flash of steel drums and lively percussion provides a festive entertainment as the calypso music stirs your body, dancing with the syncopated rhythm.

Finally, on May 12th, the Annual Fine Arts Festival returns to downtown Jackson, hosted at the corner of East Third Street and Dempsey Avenue. Featuring a variety of local and regional artists and sculptors, the Fine Arts Festival is hosted by the Jackson-Butts County Council for the Arts. Box lunches will be available for sale on the grounds and many different artists will have their booths set up to display their creations, available for sale. Admission is free and while you are there, be sure to walk over and visit the Jackson Veterans Memorial Park that pays tribute and homage to our Veterans who fought in wars over the last century, as well as those who gave their lives in the service of their country.

In other news, we continue to receive notice around the state, and soon, from across the ocean, for our great places to eat. In early May, Fresh Air Barbecue will be interviewed by Andrin Christian Willi, who has been commissioned to write a 6 page cover story on Barbecue in Georgia for Marmite, the oldest gourmet magazine in Switzerland. Accompanying him will be renowned photographer, Lukas Lienhard of Zürich, Switzerland to photograph for the article. We’re excited to welcome visitors from Europe to Butts County for this article!

We’re also excited about our now being a part of the Ocmulgee Water Trail Partnership. The goal of the OWTP is to promote the importance and usage of the Ocmulgee River, as well as the enjoyment of the Ocmulgee. In my recent article, I mentioned they would be accepting photographs from the Ocmulgee for possible inclusion in their 2019 calendar, whose theme is “The Hidden Treasures of the Ocmulgee River”. Photograph submissions for the Ocmulgee Water Trail Partnership’s 2019 Calendar are now being accepted.

Photos should convey the recreational, nature, conservation, or beauty of the Ocmulgee River. They must be the original photograph taken by a non-professional photographer. There is a limit of two photographs per photographer. No prints are accepted and all photographs must meet the resolution and format requirements. A big thanks to Jim Herbert and Linda Parrish for all their hard work to have us included in this organization! Here is a link to the main article to find out more: OWTP Photos

Finally, we are looking forward to welcoming a new restaurant to 232 W. 2nd Street, when “The Brickery” opens in the coming weeks. Located just two blocks off the downtown square in Jackson, the restaurant will feature gourmet quality pizza, as well as a variety of other foods. Owned by Michael and Melinda McLarnon, it should be up and running in late April or early May.

As we head through spring and look forward to the coming summer season, I hope you will take time to explore some of the great things happening in our own backyard of Jackson-Butts County…and if you are not from here, I hope you will come and visit us and learn why we are “Georgia’s Outdoor Capitol” in terms of lakes, state parks, nature centers, river corridors, golf, trails and scenic beauty. Located less than an hour from Atlanta or Macon, we are really closer to everywhere than anywhere else and we’d love to welcome you to our community. Visit our towns or explore our natural areas, then experience some great food and have some fun. We’ll be looking forward to seeing you!

Michael