Lawn Chairs Now Okay At Renovated Amphitheatre

Visitors check out the new terraced seating area that allows lawn chairs at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheater during a recent open house.

The Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre’s season is underway and concert goers and performers are benefitting from extensive renovations.
“We have a robust concert series that we are this hosting on behalf local promoters,” said Robert Edwards, general manager. The amphitheater is a rental only facility.

“One of our promoters, Royal Entertainment, has brought in some 20 concerts over the summer.”

Royal also helped facilitate moving all of the Kiss 104.1 Flashback series from Lakewood Amphitheater. Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends have back to back concerts.

“It’s going to be a fun series over the summer,” Edwards said during an open house at the facility in May.

A new movie series on the first Friday of each month called Movies , Band and Brew, will be a nostalgic evening with the theme of an individual artist and film.

“We are teaming up with the Arts Center so the first Friday in July is a Prince experience. A national touring, exhibit, then have Hero, The Band playing music of Prince and the movie Purple Rain.

An Evening of Jazz series is already underway.

Edwards said that in the winter of 2017 renovations began the backstage area, including the green room and dressing areas.

“We ripped up all the floors which now with polished concrete, bought new furniture, and gave it a new look. We really spruced up the place to give the artists a better impression of our backstage,” he said.

“This past winter we redid the lawn area so it is now terraced instead of a steep hill. Now we allow all of our patrons to bring in their own lawn chairs. It’s a big deal since we never allowed that in the past. We have new bar areas in the venue so we have full cash bars available to the public,” he said.

The entire SPLOST renovation was $2 million spread out over two years.

The seating area remains the same capacity at 2,500 with 1,500 under the roof and 1,000 on the lawn.

“It’s just a more user friendly lawn area,” he said.

Here are some of the shows coming this summer and fall at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre.

An Evening of Jazz series:

• June 22 – featuring Gregory Porter, Ken Ford and Kathy Kosins.

• July 6 – featuring Boney James, Avery Sunshine and Alex Bugnon.

• Aug. 3 – featuring Brian Culberson and Najee.

• Aug. 17 – featuring Jeffrey Osborne and Jody Watley.

• Sept. 21 – featuring Jonathan Butler, Kirk Whalum, Eric Darius and Nick Colionne.

July 20 – The Gentlemen of Soul featuring Peabo Bryson, Freddie Jackson and Howard Hewett

Kiss 104.1 Flashback Festival:

• Aug. 31 – The Whispers with Ruben Studdard, and Evelyn Champagne King.

• Sept. 1 – Cameo with Midnight Star, and Glenn Jones.

Also, Sept. 7 – Sounds Good Medicine with Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Kenney Lattimore, and Bryan Thompson, hosted by M.C. Lightfoot.

The Wednesday night children’s series, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, will feature free movies such as Black Panther on June 12; Spiderman Into the Spiderverese on June 26; A Wrinkle In Time on July 10; and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World on July 24.

First Fridays feature Movie, Bands and Brews:

• July 5 – Purple Rain, featuring Hero, the Band, playing Prince music.

• Aug. 2 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, featuring The Neon Queen.

• Sept. 6 – Nine to Five with a performance by Diva Royale.

• Oct. 4 – Bohemian Rhapsody featuring a Queen tribute performance by the Georgia Players Guild.

For showtimes and tickets visit mablehouse.org or call 770-819-7765.

From the June 2019  issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Mableton Farmers Market To Open

The Mableton Farmers Market will open its tenth season at the Mable House Complex on June 13 and will run through Aug. 22.  The Market will operate every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. 

Along with a wide variety of tasty, fresh, good-for-you produce grown by local small farmers, there will be fresh-baked items, honey, eggs and cooking demonstrations.  The demonstrations will show visitors quick and easy ways to prepare summertime dishes using fresh produce the Market has to offer…and there will be free samples!  Cobb & Douglas Public Health will join us again also to promote their healthy lifestyles programs for families.

We are looking especially for small farm producers to join the Market this season.  If you are interested in selling at our Market, read the Farmers Market Rules and Regulations and the Hold Harmless Agreement.  Retailers and brokers are not eligible to be vendors.

If you are interested in applying to sell produce, click here to print the application.  If you want to apply to sell non-food items, click here  All applications must be accompanied by a signed Hold Harmless Agreement and any licenses, registrations and certificates for your products as required by state and Cobb County statutes and regulations.

The Market is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) retailer.  Our partnership with Wholesome Wave Georgia enables SNAP customers to double their eligible food item EBT card purchases of up to $100 per Market day ($50 SNAP plus $50, thanks to WWG).  Come to the Market to find out about bonus SNAP token opportunities.  If you need assistance with SNAP enrollment or problems with your existing account, reach out to WWG online or call them and leave a message at 404-551-5996.  For general information about WWG, check out their website.  Consider making a tax-deductible donation to this very worthy charitable organization.

For any questions about the Mableton Farmers Market, email the Market Manager.

From the June 2019  issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

‘Mamma Mia’ Is At Mable House

The Theatre Project presents its production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ April 12 – 14 at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre.

The music of ABBA’s hit songs tell the hilarious story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

Above, The Dynamos singers include, from left, Sophie Faust, Kaylan Royston, and Gracie Price. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online at ticketmaster.com.

General admission tickets are $10 and children 12 and under are free.

From the April 2019  issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

New Building To Replace Clay, Harmony Leland Schools

In Fall 2020, some students in the Cobb County School District will step into a new state-of-the-art school building in Mableton. The Cobb Board of Education voted January 17 to award the contract for the combined replacement elementary school for Clay Elementary School and Harmony Leland Elementary School to Nix-Fowler Constructors, Inc.

“We are excited, along with the community, to see the construction start on what will be a first-class school,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale. “All the additional space, technology, safety, and security upgrades will help our teachers and staff better serve our students. We’re thankful to the Cobb community members for helping to make the new school possible by voting to approve Ed-SPLOST V.”

The new facility will feature 76 classrooms across 186,930 square feet of space. That means the replacement school could house three schools the size of Clay Elementary School and still have room left over. Clay covers 55,412 square feet, and Harmony Leland encompasses 65,127 square feet.

Construction for the new school, which will be located on Factory Shoals Road in Mableton, is scheduled to begin in Spring 2019.?The construction of the school is slated to be complete in May 2020.

Harmony Leland Elementary has served students in Cobb for almost 70 years, while Clay Elementary has educated thousands of Cobb students over the course of about 60 years.

When Clay Elementary School’s estimated 380 students walk through the doors of the new school, they will meet new friends. About 600 Harmony Leland students will join them when the combined replacement school opens in Fall 2020.

Together the new classmates will be able to explore the new opportunities that the advancements included in the new school facility will provide for them and the thousands of the students who come after them.

From the February 2019  issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Group Plans For City In South Cobb

Mableton could be the “the next best city in Cobb County” within two years if the South Cobb Alliance wins funding and support from the legislature.

Enthusiastic supporters recently held a town hall meeting at South Cobb Regional Library.

“The time has come for us as a community to determine if it is feasible for us to become Cobb County’s next city,” said Tre Hutchins, an organizer of the cityhood effort. “This will allow us an opportunity to customize our needs as it relates to the quality of life we deserve in South Cobb.”

Mableton, an unincorporated community in south Cobb, would be joined with the unincorporated part of Austell to create Cobb’s newest city, which would also be called Mableton.

The new city would be bordered on the north by Hurt Road just north of the East-West Corridor, on the west by Austell, on the east by Smyrna and go southward all the way to Cobb’s southern tip.

The first step is having a bill introduced in the General Assembly. Hutchins said State Rep. Erica Thomas, D- Austell, has agreed to do that.

Hutchins said the group needs $30,000 for a Feasibility Study.

“We have 1/3 of it and need another $20K to make sure this happens,” he said. “The South Cobb Alliance is dedicated to securing the funds to complete the study. For more information: www.SouthCobbAlliance.org/.

Hutchins said he thinks the study will show the city of Mableton will be able to provide at least three of the 16 state constitutionally mandated municipal services currently provided by the county without raising taxes on its residents.

Darlene Duke Reflects on Service To Sweetwater Mission

For more than two decades Darlene Duke has been helping feed, clothe and educate people in south Cobb and Douglas Counties.

She stepped down as executive director of Sweetwater Mission at the end of the year but will continue part-time as business director.

Brian Hamilton took over as executive director this year. He is retired as General Manager of Georgia Operations from Thompson Tractor, the Caterpillar Dealer in Alabama, where he worked 34 years.

“Darlene has set a high standard of Excellence that I am committed to continue,” he said.

Sweetwater Mission, located at 6130 Hotel St., Austell, began in 1968 as members of several churches came together with a plan to help low-income families in their community. Volunteers formed a small used clothing distribution center and soon began to offer food and financial aid to neighbors in need. Community Action Mission Program or CAMP was formed – later known as Sweetwater Valley CAMP and now simply Sweetwater Mission.

Mrs. Duke began her career at the charity in 1994 as a volunteer though her church. The first Director, Ruth Reed, later asked her to join the board of directors. As it grew, the board sought to hire two part-time employees and Mrs. Dukes suggested they combine the jobs to make it full time. She went to work full time in 2003 and became director in 2005.

“I was doing client intake in the morning and financial aid appointments in the afternoon. That’s how I was able to do both jobs,” she said. “Since the first day there, it’s been a pleasure to go to work every day.”

Sweetwater Mission now serves some 1,500 clients per month with some 200 volunteers and four full-time and four part-time staff. Some 75 clients a day visit Monday through Saturday for donations of food, clothing and educational programs.

“We had some record breaking days right before Thanksgiving with 105 to 108 people back to back.” She said.

The agency may be small, but has gotten noticed by United Way of Metro Atlanta which placed a pilot program, Kid’s Home Initiative, to deal with homeless students at Sweetwater.

Comparisons to other agencies are difficult, but Mrs. Duke said that “Annual report to annual report, on a half million dollar budget we’re giving away more food, more items of clothing, and more financial aid than MUST was doing on an $8 million budget. But it’s a different model.”

Sweetwater does not government money. That allows them to assist undocumented clients.

“If the federal government will pay to send them to school, don’t tell me that I can’t pay to feed them,” she said.

The food program relies on cash donations from business, churches and individuals to stock a food pantry with items from the Atlanta Food Bank.

“It’s a walk in service – there’s an easy sign in process – but it doesn’t require a Social Security card and anyone can get food,” she said. “We rely heavily on donations of clothing and personal care items.”

While they have a good selection of women’s clothing, there is a need for men’s clothing and clothing for school-aged children.

On her two days off from work Mrs. Duke will stay busy with her volunteer work. She is Vice-President of Georgia Church Women United and wants to get more involved in United Methodist Women’s group at her church, Powder Springs United Methodist. She is active in the South Cobb Rotary, serving as past-president and treasurer.  She chair as backpack program and is on the board of the Douglas County homeless coalition.

What is she most proud of in her term with Sweetwater?

“It’s a tossup,” she said. “I love the food program because of how it really helps people. I’m also proud of the kid’s home initiative.”

“We have two people on our staff who formerly received assistance from us,” she said and it’s wonderful to have them feel good about the experience.

Barbara Hickey Named South Cobb Citizen Of Year

Volunteer, philanthropist and community leader are among the many titles that Barbara Hickey has accumulated in the past two decades. In November she was named South Cobb Citizen of the Year by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the South Cobb Business Association and the South Cobb Rotary Club.

“This person has had a long history of service… She has been everywhere in the community, contributing, really pouring her heart into whatever need is there,” Cobb Chamber President and CEO Sharon Mason said. “Many of us know her as a great friend, as a mentor in our lives, whether it was her leading Diaper Day or forming the Cobb County Coalition of Business Associations (CCBA) to bring all the business associations together or meeting pretty much any need that was out there for non-profits, she has been there for so many people in this community.”

Wayne Dodd, president of the South Cobb Business Association, said Mrs. Hickey “saw a need and came up with a solution.”

“Her heart and her love has always been in South Cobb,” Dodd said. “Her past efforts will pay dearly for years to come.”

Albert McRae, president of the South Cobb Rotary Club, said Mrs. Hickey was always elegant and well spoken. “She’s a doer, a person of action. Barbara Hickey represents service over self,” he said.

Austin Eads, a past Rotary president said, “now most likely The world is a much better place because of Barbara Hickey, especially in South cob.”

Hickey, who is suffering from health problems, was not at the meeting. Her son and daughter-in-law Sean and Cecilia Rowe accepted the award in her place.

Sean Rowe said his mother loves Cobb County and its people, refusing to leave even when her husband Jim Hickey was offered a prestigious job elsewhere.

“She is a beacon of light,” Sean Rowe said. “We are so proud of her as a mom, as a citizen, as a grandmother, as a friend… For those of you who loved her for so many years, just know that it didn’t go missed. She knows it. She felt every ounce.”

‘Legally Blond, The Musical’

The Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts at Pebblebrook High School will present “Legally Blonde: The Musical” Jan. 31 through Feb. 3 at the Anderson Theatre, Cobb Civic Center, 548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta.

Based on the hit movie, Legally Blonde: The Musical follows Elle Woods as she traverses the halls of Harvard. After her break up with boyfriend Warner, Elle sets out to win him back by attending Harvard Law School. While there, she experiences the ups and downs of student life but sets out to prove herself to the world. This fabulous and action-packed musical will delight and enthrall with its memorable songs, charming characters, and scandal.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb.1, Feb. 2, and a matinee at 3 p.m. on Feb. 3. Tickets are available at www.andersontheatre.org/encore-series.

 

Harvest Festival To Be Held at Mable House

The Harvest Festival will be held at the Mable House Historic Grounds on October 13.

Produced by The Friends of The Mable House in partnership with Cobb Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, The Harvest Festival was formerly the Storytelling Festival.

“The Friends organization wanted to rebrand the event to create an enhanced family experience,” said Libby Geiselmayr, Mable House Arts Center Coordinator.

Professional storytellers Josie Bailey and Joanna Maddox will be telling tales, plus, there will be musical performances, food and other activities.

This free event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will include Hay Rides given by the South Cobb Lions Club, a sweet potato garden, corn shucking, butter churning, homemade Johnny cakes, professional blacksmith Wind Chapman, farm animals, live storytellers, arts and crafts with clay throwing demonstrations, old time games, sweets and drinks by the girl scouts, live musical performances, Mother Goose, and gold panning.

There will be Historic House Tours with live demonstrations of quilting, spinning, weaving and sewing.

The South Cobb Lions Club will be selling BBQ both Saturday and Sunday.

Musical performances are set by FlatPickin’, Inc., and Soulful Praise, the Pebblebrook High School Gospel Choir.

From the October 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Ideas Sought For Mableton Town Square

The Mableton Improvement Coalition invites residents to come to the Mableton Square on Friday, Oct. 12 from 2 to 6 p.m. and share ideas for the square. What should be there? A playground? Benches? Bandstand? Or something else?

Cobb PARKS will be on hand to collect your ideas and answer your questions along with MIC’s Parks Committee. All ideas and input are welcome!

The Square is part of the master plan for Mableton’s historic center. It was constructed with SPLOST funding, and is actually larger than the original design. Given the size, there is opportunity for uses that weren’t envisioned in the planning stages.

“Right now, there isn’t funding for construction. But, we can’t seek funding without a plan that lays out what we want,” said Joel Cope, MIC President. “And that’s where you come in. We need to hear from you and get your ideas. We’ve followed the Facebook conversations, but this event will give us the chance to talk in person and for you to talk with experts who can answer your questions and evaluate your ideas.”

The Real Mexican Vittles food tent will be onsite with food for purchase for your dining pleasure. Bring a chair or a picnic blanket and enjoy a late lunch or dinner on the Square.

Parking at the Square is limited, so please be patient and courteous.

From the October 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.