Food trucks roll into Suwanee

Food trucks will roll into Town Center Park the first Friday of each month April-October (with the exception of July). Suwanee's first Food Truck Friday event of 2015 is on April 3.

Food will be served from 5:30-9:30 p.m. each month, with live musical performances beginning at 7 p.m.

"Town Center Music is coordinating our bands this year," says Events Manager Amy Doherty. "We're excited at the level of talent and variety of music that they'll bring to the community."

The bands performing in April are Sunset District, an indie-rock collective based in Atlanta, and Littlebrother, formerly the Jon Harkey Band, who lean toward smooth pop-rock with folk influences.

The tentative food truck line-up for April includes Atlanta Chamos Grill, Down the Bayou Cajun Cuisine, Freckled and Blue, Happy Belly, King of Pops, Mac the Cheese, Pressed for Time, On Tapa the World, Tasting Maine, Tracy's Tasties, and Yolis Street Food.

Resident rankings put Suwanee at top

At the end of 2014, the City of Suwanee participated in its fourth National Citizen Survey, a statistically valid survey managed by the National Research Center that gathers resident opinions across a range of community issues. As in previous years, Suwanee residents' ratings put the City of Suwanee at or near the top in a variety of areas as compared to other communities across the country.

In fact, residents rated Suwanee higher than other participating communities across the nation in eight categories. Across the 127 categories Suwanee residents were requested to rate, Suwanee scored in the top 10 in 27 percent of them.

"The National Citizen Survey remains an important tool for us to gauge citizen satisfaction," says Mayor Jimmy Burnette. "We always learn a little something about ourselves as a community through the survey, and it's good to know that the City of Suwanee continues to be headed in the right direction."

Read more about Suwanee's National Citizen Survey results.

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.


Cole Taylor

New event promises to be legen-dairy

The City of Suwanee is hosting a sharp new event this spring. Suwanee's Big Cheesy Festival on Saturday, April 18, will feature cooking demos as well as cheese and beverage pairings, on-site cheese sculpting, food trucks and other vendors offering cheese-related products (including grilled cheese doughnuts), an artisan market, human foosball tournament, and live musical performances, including headliner Cole Taylor, presented in cooperation with KICKS 101.5. This free event is from 2-10 p.m. at Town Center Park.

"We're excited to be offering this event, which allows us to really embrace our quirky cheesiness," says Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Who doesn't love food and music, and the human foosball games are going to be a blast. We hope everyone comes out, we promise it's going to be a 'gouda' time."


Sarah Kaufmann

Sarah Kaufmann, aka the Cheese Lady, will be on hand creating an oversized cheese carving. In addition, Choices to You will sponsor do-it-yourself cheese sculpting opportunities.

The human foosball tournament will have teams of six players (with up to two alternates allowed per team) vying for the title of "Big Cheese." Up to 16 teams may compete, and prizes will be awarded for first and second place as well as best costume/uniform and team name. Youth ages 8-17 as well as adults may play. The deadline to register is April 10; registration fee is $25/team.

Musical performances will kick off at 5 p.m. with headliner Cole Taylor, an up-and-coming country artist, taking the stage about 8:30 p.m. Taylor, a singer/songwriter who signed with Universal Music Publishing Group after being in Nashville just nine months, has a new extended play release, featuring "Break That Lonely" and penned Florida-Georgia Line's single "Sippin' on Fire."

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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