Jazz music and food trucks on May 1 menu

Suwanee's May 1 Food Truck Friday event will feature a variety of food choices, from spicy to savory, as well as high school jazz performances.

Night of Jazz performances will begin at 7 p.m. High school bands from Collins Hill, Flowery Branch, North Gwinnett, and Peachtree Ridge will perform.

Food will be served from 5:30-9:30 p.m. The tentative food truck line-up features Chay J's New Orleans Candies, Fry Guy, Hail Caesar, Island Chef, Loaded Burger, Nana G's Chicken and Waffles, Tex's Tacos, Viet-Nomie's, Wow!, and Yumbii.

The City of Suwanee hosts Food Truck Friday at Town Center Park the first Friday of each month April-October (except in July).

Farmers Market opens May 2

The season of fresh produce, lovely flowers, and yummy baked goods returns to Suwanee when the City's Farmers Market opens at Town Center Park Saturday, May 2. The market is open 8 am-noon Saturdays through October 3.

"The Suwanee Farmers Market has a loyal customer and farmer base," notes Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Our market is almost as much a social event as it is an opportunity to access locally grown produce and a variety of other items, such as salsa, honey, eggs and meat, seafood, and baked goods."

There is no Tuesday afternoon market in Suwanee this year.

Annual program puts Art on a Limb

Trees, flowers, and art are in bloom along the Suwanee Creek Greenway and in Suwanee parks. Throughout the month of May, those out enjoying nature in several of Suwanee's parks may also discover – and keep – art pieces.

Created by Suwanee area resident Tina Waltke, red clay hearts with warm, fuzzy Suwanee statements will be hidden daily (two pieces at a time) along the Suwanee Creek Greenway and at Sims Lake Park and White Street Park throughout the month of May. Suwanee's Art on a Limb program is an annual celebration of art and nature that allows those who find the trail treasures to keep them.

A sign language interpreter by day, Waltke is a chronic – perhaps even compulsive – craft-maker who doesn't like going to movie theaters because she can't work on crafts there. "I feel like I just have to do it," she says. "It's not a choice.

"I love the idea of Art on Limb," Waltke adds. "It's a sweet and giving concept, to give people something while also encouraging them to explore Suwanee's trails and parks."


Andy Grammer

Tail-wagging fun at Woofstock

Hips will be swaying and tails will be wagging Saturday, May 9, when Andy Grammer takes Suwanee's Town Center stage as musical headliner at Woofstock, Star 94's annual pet party in the park. Woofstock, which begins at noon, features canine Frisbee and dock-diving demonstrations, dog contests, food trucks and a beer garden, pet adoptions and vendors, and live music. Schedule of activities.

"Woofstock is a great event for our four-legged friends," says Events Manager Amy Doherty. "The dogs are well-behaved, and the demos a lot of fun to watch. This year, we're really excited about the quality of musical performers. Star 94 is bringing in Andy Grammer as the headliner. We've been bopping around City Hall to his 'Keep Your Head Up.'"

Grammer is best-known for his hits "Fine by Me" and "Keep Your Head Up," which went gold and platinum respectively, from his self-titled 2011 debut album. He's currently touring and promoting his sophomore album Magazines or Novels.

Four-legged attendees must be on a leash. No alcohol may be brought into Town Center Park, but food and beverages, including beer and wine, may be purchased from event vendors and Town Center merchants. Parking is available at Town Center and along Main Street.

Peace, Love & Arts in the Park

The North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA) is making bold, colorful promises about its May 16 Arts in the Park festival.


Clyde's on Fire

"It's going to be a wonderful day for folks to get out and see some things that inspire and educate them," says NGAA President Vickie Johnson.

Attendance at the annual festival, which will be take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Town Center Park, is free.

Arts in the Park will feature the work of about 50 juried artists, showcase onsite artist demos, encourage several create-it-yourself community art projects, and include music and food.

A chalk walk competition, open to elementary, middle, and high school students, will be from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with winners announced at 4. Registration is available at suwaneeartsinthepark.com. In addition, professional street artists will create long-lasting 3D chalk drawings around Town Center Park.

Throughout the day, a DJ from Uptown Entertainment will provide music that fits the Peace, Love & Arts in the Park theme. Clyde's on Fire, an Asheville-based, female-fronted bluegrass band, will close out the festival with a live performance.


'Dancer XX' by Jack Howard-Potter

New SculpTour opens May 16

The 2015-17 Suwanee SculpTour, a walkable public art exhibit in and around Town Center, is bringing more – in some cases, a lot more – than ever before. The exhibit officially opens May 16 during the Arts in the Park festival.

  • This, Suwanee's fourth SculpTour exhibit, features more sculptures than ever: 17.
  • It includes more local artists: Six of the 15 artists represented are from Georgia; other artists are from Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York City.
  • Dancer XX, a 20-foot tall galvanized and powder-coated steel sculpture created by Jack Howard-Potter, is the single heaviest sculpture to ever be included in a SculpTour exhibit. Weighing in at 2,700 pounds, this kinetic sculpture of a male figure, who stands on one leg with his arms raised and holding a long piece of fabric, rotates with the wind.

The 2015-17 exhibit is weighty not only in poundage. While several pieces represent the forest canopy and sunflowers or a variety of animals – birds of prey, cows, horses, goats, and birds in flight – several pieces reflect the artists' perception of heavy topics. Some of the themes addressed include the pain of love, looking forward optimistically while absorbing losses of the past, unattainable success, notable attributes of friendship, parent-child relationships, the dichotomy of science and faith, and the concept of awareness. See a list of 2015-17 SculpTour artworks.

A walkable public art encounter, Suwanee SculpTour is a program of the Public Arts Commission. The new exhibit will be on display through March 2017.

Click on the image to enlarge a photo.

2015 Snap Suwanee winners

Suwanee appears fun, outdoorsy, artsy, and snowy in the dozen winning photographs that comprise the 2015 Snap Suwanee exhibit currently on display at City Hall.

Sixty entries were received for this year's annual community photo competition. The winning photographs will be on display until February 2016.

"Snap Suwanee has become one of the City's favorite community engagement projects," says Public Information Officer Lynne DeWilde. "It's always fun to see what strikes our photographers as noteworthy from year to year. This year's winning photos capture moments one doesn't see every day in Suwanee – from a hot air balloon in Town Center to snow to a paddleboarder on the Chattahoochee. They also capture those moments that are more ubiquitous, including folks interacting with public art and utilizing Suwanee parks as backdrops."

Enjoy a few 2015 Snap Suwanee winning photographs in this online slideshow, but stop by City Hall to see and appreciate all of the photos.

Be part of our award-winning festival

The 2014 Suwanee Fest recently earned four Kaleidoscope Awards from the Southeast Festivals and Events Association (SFEA), including Best Festival. With exhibitor and entertainment applications now being accepted for the 2015 Suwanee Fest, artists and performance groups are invited to apply to be part of this multi-award-winning community festival.

Suwanee Fest will take place September 19 & 20 at Town Center Park. Exhibitor and entertainment applications are available at suwaneefest.com. The deadline for applications is June 1.

"Suwanee is a great festival because...you're going to get the really heavy traffic," said 2014 exhibitor Julie Wettlaufer of Designs by Jewel. "I just love the atmosphere of Suwanee Fest. It brings a really nice crowd."

In addition to naming Suwanee Fest the Best Festival in the "budget over $75,000" category, SFEA also awarded the festival for:

  • Best Volunteer – in recognition of Chair Janis Beavin's multiple years of service and for leading the festival as it transitioned from a one-day to two-day event.
  • Best Creative Idea – for hosting a Blast a Stormtrooper activity in place of what would have been an unused sponsor booth.
  • Best t-shirt – the Suwanee Fest t-shirt won a silver award in this category.

The awards were presented February 17 in Chattanooga during the Southeast Festivals and Events Association's annual conference. More than 100 entries were received from organizations in five states.

Food, music, fun & more

A total of 48 events, including 19 runs/walks, six Food Truck Fridays, numerous traditional favorites, and several new events, are sprinkled throughout the City of Suwanee's 2015 event calendar.

New events include the Big Cheesy Festival on April 18, Chili Cook-Off on May 2, Melanoma Awareness event on May 31, and Alive! Expo on October 24.

Suwanee's very popular Food Truck Fridays are back the first Friday of the month April-October, with the exception of July. Also back are favorites such as Suwanee Beer Fest on March 14, Woofstock on May 9, Arts in the Park May 16, and Taste of Suwanee October 10.

Broadway in the Park returns to the Town Center stage July 24 and 25 with performances of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Suwanee Fest will be September 19 and 20.

Here are a few changes to the 2015 events calendar:

  • The Suwanee Farmers Market, which opens May 2, will be Saturdays only this year.
  • The Memorial Day weekend kick-off event is being reworked and tentatively will be rebranded as Red, White, Bluegrass & Bach.
  • All Movies under the Stars presentations – on June 6, July 18, and August 29 – will be double-features.

Farmers wanted

The season of fresh produce, lovely flowers, and yummy baked goods returns to Suwanee when the City's Farmers Market opens on Saturday, May 2. The market is in search of farmers, herb and flower growers, butchers, bakers, jams and soap makers, and others to participate in its 11th season. Vendor applications are due March 30.

"The Suwanee Farmers Market has a loyal customer and farmer base," notes Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Our market is almost as much a social event as it is an opportunity to access locally grown produce and a variety of other items, such as salsa, honey, eggs and meat, and baked goods."

The Suwanee Farmers Market does not accept arts and crafts, non-licensed products, or produce re-sold from other markets. See additional guidelines.

Vendors who have been part of the Suwanee Farmers Market for less than two years are required to attend the annual Farmers Market meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, March 30, at Suwanee City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue. In addition, all farmers may be subject to facility inspections by the market manager.

The Suwanee Farmers Market will be open from 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, May 2-October 3, at Town Center Park. The City of Suwanee will not host Tuesday markets this year.

Put your 'designs' on Suwanee Fest

Your creativity + Suwanee Fest could = $500!

The winning creator of the 2015 Suwanee Fest theme logo, which will be used on official festival t-shirts and marketing posters, will receive $500. The theme for the 2015 festival, to be celebrated September 19 and 20, will be "For the love of Suwanee."

The competition is open to professional and amateur designers of all ages. Designs may be hand-drawn or computer-generated. Entries should be submitted in printed and electronic format. The deadline for submission is May 1. See guidelines for additional information and an entry form.

Suwanee Fest is the community's annual two-day fall celebration. The award-winning festival includes arts and crafts exhibitors, children's rides and activities, and on-stage entertainment. Last year, approximately 55,000 people attended the festival at Town Center Park. For more information, visit the Suwanee Fest website.

Google: Suwanee is 2014 eCity

Google has announced that the City of Suwanee is Georgia's 2014 eCity and one of the country's digital capitals. This designation from the global technology company recognizes Suwanee as having the strongest online business community in the state.

"We're thrilled," says Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette, "and if I could speak in emoticons, I'd add several of those to this statement. More seriously, I'm very proud of our connected, forward-thinking, and engaged community. Like many of our businesses, the City of Suwanee has worked hard to keep pace with electronic technology and the opportunities it presents, maintaining a dynamic website, having a strong social media presence, and, most recently, making our website mobile-friendly.

"We know that e-commerce is a big part of Suwanee's thriving economy and we welcome that, and we'll continue to embrace electronic and other technologies to further strengthen our economy and overall community."

To determine America's digital capitals, Google and IPSOS, an independent research firm, analyzed the online strength of local small businesses in cities across the country. Factors considered included whether small businesses had a website, used a blog, promoted themselves via social networks, sold goods directly  from their website, and had a mobile-friendly website.

"Clearly there is a growing entrepreneurial spirit in Suwanee, which should be embraced," says Brett Williams, Google's director of SMB marketing, Americas. "Businesses in Suwanee are turning to the internet to start and develop their own businesses and we hope Suwanee becomes an inspiration to other areas in the country."


The Suwanee Town Center Master Plan is one example of community plans effectively implemented by the City of Suwanee.

Suwanee attains 'PlanFirst' designation

The City of Suwanee is in the inaugural class of 10 Georgia communities being recognized for excellence in community planning. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) awarded the PlanFirst designation in recognition that Suwanee not only creates good community plans, it also implements them well.

"Good planning by local communities is the hallmark of economic growth," says DCA Commissioner Gretchen Corbin. "These are communities that can serve as statewide models for others in how to actively and strategically implement a vision for the future."

Thirty communities applied to the PlanFirst program in its inaugural year. Designated communities had to demonstrate a proven record of plan implementation success in areas that included goals, leadership, and community participation.

In addition to Suwanee, these communities are part of the PlanFirst inaugural class: Athens-Clarke County, Braselton, Coweta County, Gainesville, Johnson County, Jones County, Madison, Vienna, and Woodstock.

These 10 communities will receive their award at the Capitol on January 28, and the designation will last for three years beginning January 1. The designation means that these communities can take advantage of various incentives, including public visibility, eligibility for funding, and certain reduced interest loans.

Winning streak

The City of Suwanee has recently received awards or recognition from a variety of state, national, and international organizations.

The City's Connects community newsletter and 2013 annual report have been recognized. The newsletter won two Awards of Excellence in September, in the printed publications-external publications and graphic design-publications categories, from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA). Connects is written by City of Suwanee staff and designed by the Veugeler Design Group in Buford.

Earlier this summer, the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report received Excellence in Financial Reporting recognition and its annual report earned a Popular Annual Financial Reporting award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The publications are compiled and designed by City of Suwanee staff.

One of the City's annual events, Woofstock, co-sponsored with Star 94 radio, received a Georgia Downtown Conference Award of Excellence in August. The City was recognized in the promotions category with a silver award.

Finally, the City of Suwanee has been recognized for its performance management efforts with a Certificate of Distinction from the International City/County Management Association's (ICMA) Center for Performance Analytics. Suwanee is among 11 jurisdictions nationwide to receive the Certificate of Distinction and one of 49 (and one of two in Georgia; Decatur being the other) recognized overall. More information.

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