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Fireworks, CSO's Sounds of Liberty returns July 4th

The Carroll Symphony Orchestra is preparing once again to thrill our community with the sounds and sights of The 2014 Sounds of Liberty Concert  which begins at 8:30 p.m. on the Fourth of July. 

The grounds of the Carrollton Elementary School will become a giant “crazy quilt” of lawn chairs and beach blankets as thousands gather at the free event to enjoy the thrilling patriotic music that culminates in a brilliant fireworks display.

As evening falls, spotlights switch on, musicians mount the stage, Conductor Terry Lowry takes the podium, the American Legion Honor Guard raises the colors, local radio stations “go live,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” sounds across the crowd to begin the evening’s celebration. 

Conductor Lowry calls the concert an “All-American program” because all of the evening’s music is by American composers.  One segment of this year’s American music will include themes from movies and television Westerns such as the John Wayne film The Cowboys and the hit movie The Magnificent Seven

In a special salute to the Carrollton High School Baseball Team who brought home the State Championship this year, recent CHS graduate Thomas Cox will perform “Casey at the Bat.”

To the strains of John Phillip Sousa’s “Songs of Grace and Songs of Glory” the crowd will have the opportunity to pay tribute to Carroll County’s own brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our country, their names displayed on a double-sided replica of the Carroll County Veterans Memorial Park walls. 

With the orchestra accompanying him, well-known bass Dr. Larry Frazier will sing “An Armed Forces Salute” during which both wartime and peacetime veterans of each of our country’s military branches will be recognized.

The program builds to the brilliant fireworks display with numerous patriotic melodies including “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” 

2014 will be the eleventh year for the CSO to perform at The Sounds of Liberty. 

Gradick Communications’ radio stations Kiss 102.7 and B92 Country will broadcast the concert, as they have been doing since 1996.

The Sounds of Liberty is made possible by the following sponsors: City of Carrollton, Southwire, Tanner Health System, Carroll County, SMI, Mike Bell Chevrolet, Kiss 102.7 and B92 Country, West Georgia Ambulance Service and Steve Adams, West Georgia Technical College, Milestone Investment Management, Almon Funeral Home, United Community Bank, and Syncglobal Telecom. 

Mayor Wayne Garner welcomes everyone to the celebration, “We are delighted to be able to participate with the Symphony each year. As mayor, and on behalf of the City Council, I want to say that we think it is a great, great thing for the City of Carrollton. Thousands and thousands of people come to attend that concert. Terry Lowry does a great job. We’re excited about it and know we’ll have another great concert.”

The fireworks show is co-sponsored by the Carrollton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Tanner Health System.

The launch site for the fireworks show is across Ben Scott Boulevard from the concert stage and will be located between the practice football field and the baseball field by Carrollton Junior High. 

The Symphony’s first Sounds of Liberty concert was also the first year that awards were presented for the winning floats in the morning’s People’s Parade, a project organized and managed by the Evening Sertoma Club. The tradition continues: this year’s Community Spirit Cup will be presented by Carrollton Evening Sertoman Rebecca L. Smith, coordinator of The People's Parade. 

Traffic exiting the evening’s event will flow steadily under the guidance of Carrollton Police officers who will be stationed at the intersections of Trojan Drive and South Park Street, Trojan Drive and Ben Scott Boulevard, Ben Scott and Hwy. 166 Bypass, and Hays Mill Road and the 166 Bypass. 

Seeing ourselves through others’ eyes

The following is CVB Executive Director Jonathan Dorsey's column which was printed in the Times-Georgian Wednesday, June 11.

By Jonathan Dorsey 

I recently had the opportunity to see our county through different eyes: the eyes of a visitor.

A couple of weeks ago, the Convention and Visitors Bureau partnered with Villa Rica's tourism bureau to host a "fam" tour (familiarization) of our community's tourism assets for a group of travel journalists from around the state and region. We visited downtown Villa Rica and downtown Carrollton. Some flew through the sky over Snake Creek at Historic Banning Mills. We walked through history at McIntosh Reserve Park and panned for gold at Pine Mountain Gold Mining Museum. During our downtown Carrollton walking tour, we explored our area’s textile history along the Textile Heritage Trail and viewed the exquisitely created art quilts at the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum.

Our guests met the resident ghost -- and the resident cats -- of the state’s oldest bookstore, Horton’s, and ate in awesome restaurants including Little Hawaiian, Plates, the Highland Deli, Gabe’s Downtown, Baxter’s, Chat’n’Choo, Evans Barbecue and the Southern Table. We perused the produce of the Cotton Mill Farmer’s Market and some of the writers made a purchase or two (Yay, tourism!).

We tasted wine and visited a vineyard from right here in Carroll County. We sampled mouthwatering cheeses made in Roopville at Udderly Cool Dairy from milk from the Berry College dairy heard - a true Highway 27 product. In Villa Rica, we saw historic markers telling the stories of Freedom Riders and the Father of Gospel Music, and of the awful explosion that not only destroyed half of downtown Villa Rica but also changed forever our civil defense response to such disasters. The writers tasted Coke from a glass bottle in the hometown of Asa Candler, the company's founder.

Our tour visited cultural venues such as the amphitheaters in Carrollton and Villa Rica, and toured the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center. The group also got to experience the genuine Southern hospitality of some of our local lodging properties.

It was exciting each time our visitors would express their approval of a meal or enjoyment of an activity or appreciation of a location. It was reassuring to me each time I had the answer to their questions. It is a good thing to know one’s stuff, after all.

However, I must admit it may have been even more rewarding the times I didn’t quite know my stuff. Several times unexpectedly along the way, the writers would point out or ask about something I frankly had never really thought about. I was challenged to either recall something I had long ago forgotten or research and find out the answer. In other words, seeing this community where many of us have spent our lives through the eyes of someone experiencing it for the very first time spurred me on to learn more and appreciate even more about this place I so dearly love. What an enriching experience.

The tour has resulted in numerous social media posts already and will produce multiple stories in print and on blogs, helping us tell our story and providing so many others with a fresh view of our community. And, man, do we look great!

(Dorsey is Executive Director of the Carrollton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the official destination marketing organization for Carrollton/Carroll County and current chairman of the US Highway 27 Association.)

Cemetery mobile app brings local history to life

(The following column was published in the Times-Georgian December 26, 2013) 

By Jonathan Dorsey

          When the CVB and Carrollton Main Street co-produced a walking tour brochure about Carrollton’s historic city cemetery a few years ago, we had no idea just how popular it would be. Now, three years and several hundred brochures later, the cemetery tour is one of our community’s most popular heritage tourism experiences. Now, a brand new free mobile app promises to grow that popularity while offering a customized guided tour experience.

            The Carrollton Area CVB partnered with our mobile app designers, Populace, Inc., to produce the “Historic Carrollton City Cemetery Tour,” app, available under that name at the App Store for both Apple and Android. The app contains great elements you can’t get in the brochure like an interactive map, more pictures, narration and, best of all, it’s updateable. There will be things added to the app as we go.

             Download the app and use it to discover the identities of the following characters in the Carrollton Area’s story …

 … The man who created the eight-hour work day with overtime pay, initially applied to railroad workers but which eventually became the standard work day for the US.

 … The founder of the county’s largest industry from the 1890s through the 1940s whose home became a local landmark restaurant.

 … The first freed slave to own and operate a business in Carrollton. When she died in 1917, her former customers pooled their money to buy the beautiful angel headstone that marks her grave.

 … The sister of a Georgia governor who lived in Carrollton in a house ordered from Sears and was the deciding factor in the decision to locate West Georgia College (now University of West GA) here.

 … The founder of the oldest store of its kind in the state and the oldest business of any kind in Carrollton.

 … The only person in the cemetery whose grave faces north instead of being aligned east-west.

 … The local judge who presided over a murder case so notorious it spawned at least two books and a CBS-TV movie starring Johnny Cash and Andy Griffith.

        The new cemetery tour mobile app does not contain a comprehensive list of everyone buried in the city cemetery, but that’s not really the intent. Rather, we hope the mobile app will give both local residents and future visitors a compelling new way to look into our community’s past and gain new insights into who we are.

 (Dorsey is Executive Director of the Carrollton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the official destination marketing organization for Carrollton/Carroll County.)

Tourists spent $127 million in Carroll in 2012

The following article was printed in the Times-Georgian's October 6, 2013 edition

The economic impact of tourism on Carroll County  

By Jonathan Dorsey

 Not so long ago, there was a place that was so attractive that people came from out of town and gave every household in the county a $200 credit on their local taxes, hired more than a thousand local people and spent more than a hundred million dollars at local businesses. The year was 2012 and the place was Carroll County.

Every year, the state releases its Economic Impact of Tourism report, detailing the county by county effects of tourism on our economy. This year’s report was just released and had excellent news in it for Carroll County. Last year, visitors to our community spent $127 million here – that’s five and a quarter million dollars more than they spent in 2011. The report studies revenues from lodging, transportation, dining, attractions and a bunch of other sectors to get its results.

Another important number in the report is 1170. That is the number of jobs tourism supported in Carroll County last year. In an employment climate that has risen and fallen a lot lately, that number has grown steadily for the past several years.

All that spending by visitors generated $8.26 million in state and local taxes. That’s more than $8 million dollars in our state and local governments’ coffers that didn’t have to come from local property owners. So tourism provided about $200 per local household of tax relief.

Tourists spend money locally. Those dollars pay wages. Those wages buy goods and services from local providers who hire local people to help them meet demand. The tax money that spending generates paves roads, builds bridges and provides police and fire protection, recreation, education and many other public services. This economic rollover effect means that, in reality, tourism’s impact is many times bigger than that already impressive $127 million. It also means that each of us benefits from tourism spending in our county, whether we work in the hospitality industry or not. 

The fact that we all benefit from the tax relief, job creation and revenue tourism brings is entirely appropriate since these numbers are the result of the hard work and cooperation of individuals, government agencies, attractions, businesses, associations and committees across this county. The Carrollton Area CVB is certainly proud to lead our community’s tourism efforts, but our community’s continuing tourism success is the result of the work of everyone in Carroll County. Way to go, team!

 (Dorsey is Executive Director of the Carrollton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the official destination marketing organization for Carrollton/Carroll County.)

CVB launches free online comprehensive events calendar

The Carrollton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau proudly presents The Carroll Calendar. This is a community sourced calendar and we encourage all local businesses, merchants, charities and Individuals to post your events here. Check back here often as we continue to grow to be your #1 source for community events; from Trivia to Live Music, to fundraisers, to Yard Sales, to Karaoke…  Welcome.









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