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First Official Weekend of Fall…And You Won’t Be Disappointed!

Arts, Events, Ft. Benning-Military, on Friday, September 25, 2015 | Permalink

You can bet your last dollar that as soon as we drop below 80 degrees around here, we all want to get outside and do stuff...and believe me when I tell you there's plenty to choose from.  And since this is the first official weekend of Fall, the Event Calendar isn't letting us down with the number of choices you have of things to do over the next couple of days.  Things that don't involve car pools, making it to that 8:30am meeting, or fighting with the grocery cart that has that one wobbly wheel.  These are things you actually look forward the Big To-Do Concert in Uptown tonight.  The band Rock Candy will be on-stage and you'll be on your feet dancing.  Or there's the 6th Annual Beer & Wine Festival in the Rankin Courtyard on Saturday or the Columbus Walk to End Alzheimer's (Friday at 6:00pm)...both happening in Uptown Columbus.  If it's music your soul needs this weekend, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra kicks off their new season with a performance called "Prokofiev & Pictures" at RiverCenter this Saturday night.  Even if you don't know anything about classical music, this symphony and their leader, George Del Gobbo, will make it an experience you won't forget and may even open your mind to a completely different kind of music than you're used to.  Or, if your tastes lean towards something more earthy, head out to The Barn at Lake Pines Campground this Sunday afternoon for Bluegrass at The Barn.  They'll have a band performing for the first hour, then for the next couple of hours, it's just a big ol' jam session, so if you have an acoustic instrument, take it with you and go make some music...or just go, kick back and take it all in!

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Goodbye Last Week of Summer…And Hello to a Fun-Filled Fall!

Arts, Events, Good Eats!, on Friday, September 18, 2015 | Permalink

Yesterday, I was in a meeting with a room-full of marketing directors that represent many of the arts organizations and facilities in town and during the meeting, each one was invited to talk about their line-up of events for this upcoming season.  Wow!  Suffice it to say we are in for one busy Autumn and I can't wait.  Even this weekend, we're getting a sneak peek of just how jammed-packed the next few months are going to be.  And after the brutal Summer we all just endured, we're about due for some enjoyable time outside without having to fight the heat, humidity and 'skeeters. 

I threw my beach chair in the trunk this morning and it's going to stay there for the next few weeks so I'll be ready for this series of The Big To-Do Uptown Concert Series.  Every Friday night for the next six weeks, there's a different band on stage each week and they're all bands that will have you up and dancing and put you in a good mood for the rest of the weekend.  It's something you can bring the kids to and they'll enjoy just as much as you and I really like the fact that there's plenty of free parking and there's absolutely no admission charge to get into the concert.  That's a really good deal!

Other things you might want to do this weekend include the 3rd Annual Columbus Children's Book Festival at the main library on Macon Rd on Saturday.  This festival has gotten really big and includes everything from nationally-known authors and illustrators to magicians and cotton candy.  Truthfully, cotton candy was all I needed to hear.  There's also "Live Healthy in Uptown Day" and it's going on in the same area and time as Market Days on Broadway.  Just a few blocks away from Broadway is an event called Transportation Playground, a fundraiser aimed at raising money for a playground in Uptown.  You can see, touch, or explore, a train, a plane, exotic cars, military vehicles, emergency vehicles, unique cycles, and many more. There’s a skateboard comp, food and lots of activities for kids.  And there’ll be raffles for some really great prizes!  And a nice way to wind down the weekend is by heading to RiverCenter Sunday afternoon for a couple of concerts by the virtuosos at CSU's School of Music.  First up at 4:00pm, it’s CSU’s Philharmonic Orchestra performing their first concert of the season with a pretty eclectic line-up and if you can’t make that one, a little later at 7:30pm, you can hear Dr. Robert Murray, Professor of Trumpet, do his faculty recital!  And both of these concerts are in Legacy Hall at RiverCenter and they are both FREE!!!  I love free.

Do yourselves a favor and bookmark the Event Calendar so you can go there and get the latest on all the festivities happening in and around Columbus.  It sure helps when you're making weekend plans!

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Another Weekend…Another Long List of Fun Things To Do!

Arts, Events, History, Good Eats!, on Friday, September 11, 2015 | Permalink

Thank you, Mother Nature!  Even if you are just teasing us with this glimpse of Fall weather, we'll take it.  Something tells me we haven't seen the last 90-degree temp of Summer, but with a bit of a cool down forecast for this weekend, it looks like the perfect time to corral the kids or group-text your friends and make some plans to just get out and enjoy something...anything...this weekend!  And you won't be hard-pressed to find things to choose from--just depends on what you're in the mood for.

Try your hand at solving the mystery of who-dun-it at Sherlock's Mystery Dinner Theatre's new production called Murder at the Comic-Con.  You can either just sit back and enjoy the show and an incredible dinner or you can actually be a part of the fun and show off some acting skills. Either way, you'll have a great time and get to have a meal that's out-of-this world good.  If you can't make it this weekend, not to worry as the production runs thru October 17, but you still need to make reservations as some dates sell out quickly.  And speaking of yummy food, swing by the 3rd Annual Latino Festival at South Commons on Saturday (Sept 12) for a day of live music, dancing, Zumba demos, Kids Fun Zone, and of course some good things to nibble on.  This one is a great deal because there is no admission!

If it's been a while since you and the kids have made a stop at the Columbus Museum, put it on the schedule for tomorrow so you can pop in for their Second Saturday event.  You'll get to learn how to create tapestries, participate in a scavenger hunt, and check out story time at 11 a.m.  And this one is also free! 

How about a quick roadtrip?  Scoot up to Roosevelt's Little White House in Warm Springs because they have a pretty packed weekend with special events going on including a opportunity to meet and talk with Medal of Honor Recipient CSM Bennie Adkins.  I can't think of a more appropriate weekend to thank a true American hero for his service.

And just a reminder, make sure you visit the Event Calendar to get details on all of these events and plenty more going on in and around Columbus!                 

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Lots of Fun to Choose from in Columbus, GA this Labor Day Weekend!

Arts, Events, Good Eats!, River Fun, Shopping, on Friday, September 4, 2015 | Permalink

It's official, Summer is winding down.  With the heat and humidity this season produced, I can't say I'm entirely sad to see it go.  But don't think once Summer is over, so is the fun.  It's actually quite the opposite.  Because we do tend to get a little steamy around here during the second quarter, there aren't quite as many activities to's just too dang hot.  But once Fall rolls around, it's non-stop.  Even though we're just on the cusp of changing seasons, this weekend is a great example of how packed-full of stuff it's going to get. 

And of course, it's Labor Day weekend so many of us have an extra day to relish and lots of choices to make on what to do.  You can start off the holiday this afternoon at 4:30 with a browse through the First Friday ArtWalk in Uptown Columbus--lots of artists will be set up in the 1000 block of Broadway so you can meet them, check out their work and even get involved in an art project they are doing in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity.  Something tells me the kids will love getting their hands dirty on this one.  And speaking of kids, CSU's Riverside Theatre Complex has a production of "The Velveteen Rabbit" this weekend and if you know the story (remember the little stuffed bunny rabbit?), you know it's going to be good.  I may have a hanky ready just in case.

So let's talk about festivals.  It's the kick-off of the Fall Festival season and there are three great ones going on practically in our backyard.  Just north of Columbus, the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens is going on all weekend.  This is an amazing event and if you've never been, make sure you're there tonight or Sunday night for the Balloon Glow.  That's where they line up lots of the balloons on the beach at Robin Lake at sunset then fire them up.  The colors and reflections are nothing short of stunning.  There’s tons of other things going on too like tethered rides (weather permitting), Disc Dog demos, sports on big-screen TV’s (can't miss those college football games!), classic car show, live entertainment, Silver Wings Skydiving Demo Team (wind & weather permitting), food trucks and all the usual fun beach stuff!  Or, hop in the car and go a little south of the city to Omaha, GA to Florence Marina State Park.  They also have tons to do all weekend including arts & crafts, snakes and other reptiles on display, and  they'll even take you for a ride on the lake in one of their pontoon boats...and don't be surprised if you see a gator or two!  Save a little energy for Labor Day on Monday because there's a hoot of a festival to the west of Columbus.  It's the Old Seale Courthouse Labor Day Fair!  This festival has all kinds of personality going on with really unique entertainment, arts & crafts, fun stuff for kids to enjoy and let’s talk about the food because you can’t have a festival without festival food like barbecue, a Chili Cook-off, Polish sausage, snow cones, funnel cakes, fried gator and...fried Oreos!! 

Fried Oreos?  Who's with me!?

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It’s not Everyday you see Dinosaurs in Columbus.

Events, on Friday, September 4, 2015 | Permalink

I'm lucky enough to have an office situated in Uptown Columbus--great area for walking to meetings, grabbing lunch or hanging out after work to take in one of the many events going on in this part of town.  But I have to say, today was a first.  Today, I saw my first dinosaur in Columbus.  The sight of it caused me to do a brain trying it's best to rationalize what I think I thought I saw.  Was that just a big dog off his leash?  Maybe the light from the sun was making funny shadow shapes.  Nope.  It was a dinosaur...well, the closest thing any of us will get to this day in time.  And I have to admit I was a little relieved to find out it's all part of this really exciting event at the Convention & Trade Center this weekend.  It's call T-Rex Planet and if you want to know what it was like waaaaaaay back in the day when these creatures roamed the Earth, then you've got to check this out.  And it goes without saying, if you have kids, this is a must-do this weekend because most little ones are fascinated with dinosaurs and seem to know a lot about them!  The main exhibit features life-size, ultra-realistic animatronic dinosaurs that you can interact with, learn about, and even ride a few—40 dinosaurs in all from babies to the really big guys.  But the festivities don't stop there because they'll also have a dinosaur band, lots of activities for kids of all ages like a fossil dig where you can unearth ancient bones, a dino bounce house and facepainting.  This is just so cool and something tells me there will be just as many curious BIG kids (yep, kids my age) as there are younger kiddos.  Work this one into your schedule this weekend--doors will be open at the Trade Center from 10:00am-9:00pm on Saturday (Aug 29) and from 10:00am-7:00pm on Sunday (Aug 30).  Wonder if Fred & Barney will be there?!

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It’s so Hot that it’s Cool in Columbus, GA!

Good Eats!, River Fun, on Friday, September 4, 2015 | Permalink

Heard on the news today that July has just earned the dubious honor as being named the hottest month on record...ever...and...oh wait, the news gets even better.  We're on track for 2015 to be hottest year...ever.  And don't even get me started on the astronomically high humidity levels.  One look at the condition, or lack there of, of my hair is better than any barometer or thermometer that the weather guy uses.  It's August in Georgia so we know it's hot, humid and hazy.  Comes with the territory and we just deal with it.  But thankfully, we have some pretty clever ways of dealing with these "Hot as Hades" days.

Nowhere else in the world can you hop in a raft or kayak and navigate the cool waters of the longest urban whitewater course in the world--and it's right here in Columbus so you don't have to drive for hours to get to it.  And here's a little tip...if you want a lazy, tranquil paddle with just a few rapids, go earlier in the day because when they open the dams upriver, the flow and excitement of the ride changes drastically!  If you don't feel like getting in the water, head to The Island for a great spot to watch the action and maybe catch a bit of spray from the water to cool you off a bit.  You might even look into joining in on one of the kayak or stand up paddle-board classes that are held in the water next to The Island.

If you're down by the river and have the kiddos with you, make sure you let them wear their swimsuits on this outing so they can have a ball being teased by the water at The Splash Pad!  It's located on the corner of 10th Street and Bay Avenue and it features 32 water jets capable of shooting to heights of eight feet.  Sit close enough to the action and you're likely to get splashed as well!  I would not have a problem with that.

Even though you've been in the water, you've been playing hard so it's time to cool off with a long, tall glass of something so you may want to grab a big quart jar-size of the freshly squeezed lemonade at Country's Barbecue or an extra large glass of sweet tea from Meritage.  I don't know what Faye puts in that tea, but I can't get enough of it!  And if it's lunch time when you're quenching your thirst, maybe grab the grilled chicken salad at Country's or the Club Wrap and homemade chips at Meritage.

Save room for an artic-treat to complete the cool-down and try one of the gourmet popsicles at Planet Pops.  You never know what kinds of flavors they'll have for you but it could be anything from banana pudding, coffee & cream, key lime pie, and they even have a dill pickle pop complete with pickle slices frozen in the middle!  That one right there may make many moms-to-be very happy!

So yeah, it's hot...but before you know it, it'll be the middle of January and we'll be moaning about how cold it is!

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Here’s What’s Cooking at the Columbus Museum!

Arts, on Friday, September 4, 2015 | Permalink

I love the Columbus Museum.  I've been going there since I was a kid and have seen it go through many transitions and lots of growth.  But no matter how many times I've been, there's always something new to see and, if I'm honest, even in the permanent history gallery I learn something new every time.  So I don't need an excuse to go but when I saw the description of one of their latest exhibitions, it's time to plan an outing!  The exhibit is called "Chattahoochee Cookin'" and if you're thinking it's all about food from this area, then you're right!  When you talk about American food, the South’s brand of home cooking rises to the top as a regionally distinctive tradition, and certainly one of the tastiest. The Chattahoochee Valley has its own proud culinary heritage, which forms the basis of Chattahoochee Cookin’.  Think Scrambled Hot Dogs, peanuts, pecans, pecans, Coca-Cola, and RC.  It even looks at technological innovations and agricultural implements designed by local residents, as well as the role of local restaurateurs who produce Columbus culinary specialties.

My other favorite part?  There is absolutely no admission into the Columbus Museum...and they keep it nice and chilly in there!!

Yep, after looking at all the pictures of food and reading the descriptions, I believe when I leave the museum, I'll be taking a left-hand turn out of the parking lot and head to Dinglewood for a Scrambled Dog with all the fixins'!!

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Take Me to the River…And Drop Me in the Water!

Events, River Fun, on Friday, August 7, 2015 | Permalink

It's the weekend for whitewater we look forward to all's time for The Grand 2.0.  If you like the sounds of spending some time surfing the rapids, chowing down on tasty goodies from food trucks, washing it down with an ice cold beer, and a stage full of live music, then you really should check this one out!  The whole thing kicks off this afternoon (Friday, Aug 7) with discounted whitewater rafting, then a concert and food trucks in Uptown.

Then on Saturday, Whitewater Express will have 9 discounted hourly time slots from 9:00am-4:00pm, so if you haven’t tried the course yet, this is your day.  Seriously...what are you waiting for?  We're very lucky to have this jewel in our own backyard.  In fact, USA Today has already named our whitewater course as one of the world's Top 12 Man Made Adventures.  And here's a tip for you.  If you're a little nervous about what navigating these rapids will be like, then start out with one of the trips that happen earlier in the day.  The rapids are much more on the mild side and it's pretty peaceful and a good way to get your feet wet.  Uh, no pun intended there!  But if you're more inclined to walk...or raft...on the wild side, wait until later in the day when the dam opens upstream and that will pump up the volume on the difficulty of the rapids and it's a whole different experience than that early moring float! 

There's also more live music (free) in Woodruff Park, just across from Whitewater Express, and food trucks, water stations and more on Saturday.  And for those who may want to get on the river but maybe fighting the rapids isn’t your thing, then join in on the family-friendly flatwater paddle to Oxbow Meadows Saturday morning at 10:00am.

And how cool is this?  When the sun goes down, the guides from Whitewater Express and several other adventurous whitewater kayakers, will put on a “Saturday Night Lights” demonstration at the new section of whitewater illuminated by stadium lights…near “The Island.”  This, I've got to see!

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The Dog Days of Summer are Upon Us…So Let’s Celebrate!

Arts, Events, Shopping, on Friday, July 31, 2015 | Permalink

Yep, we're knocking on the door of August and that means just one thing...the Dog Days of Summer are here.  But afterall, it is summer in Georgia, so we're ready for it.  When the all-knowing weather guy gave the forecast for the weekend this morning, he promised it would be cooler and drier--cooler meaning not breaking 100 degrees and a humidity level below 93%, but hey, I'll take it.  So let's enjoy this brief glimpse of Autumn and find some stuff to get out and do this weekend.  A good place to start making plans is by taking a look at the Event Calendar--it'll give you a day-by-day listing with all the details you'll ever need.

You can kick things off tonight with a short trip up to Callaway Gardens for their Friday Night Movies on the Beach or save that ride for Saturday evening for their Summer Sunset Music Series.  Either, or both, sounds good to me because you'll be by the lake with your toes in the sand. 

If you're in the need for some good reading material, the Columbus Public Library is the site for the Annual Muscogee County Friends of Libraries Book Sale.  They have 1000s of gently-used books for $1 so this will be a good time to stock up because pretty soon, we'll be complaining about how cold it is and staying home to read a good book is all you want to do.  Maybe comic books are what you're looking for, so after you dig through what they have at the Library, head to the Coca-Cola Space Science Center on Sunday for their big Columbus Comic Book & Toy Show.  They'll have all sorts of comics to buy, sell, or trade and lots of exhibits, movies, costume characters and more.

There's also the 2015 Columbus Artists' Guild Exhibition and Sale in the Illges Gallery at the Corn Center in Uptown Columbus.  I took a look at the Columbus Artists' Guild's website and I'm amazed at the level of talent these folks have...and they live right here in our own backyard!  Go just to marvel at their works or go ready to shop for some original art!  Or, how about a completely different activitiy that's on the other end of the spectrum, but these folks are just as talented in their own field.  The Muscogee RollerGirls will be back in action on the rink Saturday night against the Marietta Derby Darlins Allstars.  All the action takes place in the old Front Porch of the South bulding on Veterans Parkway.  It's non-stop skating and it's high energy and believe it or as well so take the kids!

The fun is out there.  You just need to get out and enjoy!

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Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!  But these bugs you’re gonna love!

Events, Good Eats!, on Friday, July 10, 2015 | Permalink

I'm the first to admit I'm not a big fan of bugs.  Sure, I get excited when a butterfly or ladybug lands on me.  I'll even pick up a lizard that's found his way into my house and put him back outside where he belongs.  And roly-polies make me giggle.  But that's about where the fun ends and the terror begins.  However, I put all my fears aside one day each year and head out to Oxbow Meadows for their annual Insectival.  This Saturday (July 11) marks their 15th annunal insect festival and this thing never disappoints!  Once I get over the fact that there are creepy-crawlies everywhere, I'm ok and dive right into the fun.  You never know what you're going to experience but I know for sure you can check out things like honey extraction with the Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers, hands-on insect inspections (I can guarantee you won't see me in line for this one), sweet buggy treats, and their Infamous Cricket Spitting Contest!  Back to the sweet buggy treats, it's exactly what it sounds like.  In the past, they've had lollipops with crickets and other things in them you normally are glad not to find in your food and they've even had chocolate-covered 'goodies.'  The fun runs from 10:00am-3:00pm so if you have kids of any age, take them...they will love this.  And if you don't have kids, go anyway and be prepared to squeal and squirm at the sight of these curious creatures.  Just don't look for me near the hissing cockroaches...I'll be in the car when they brings those out!!


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Happy Birthday, America!  Time for Family-Fun to Celebrate!

Arts, Events, History, Good Eats!, River Fun, on Thursday, July 2, 2015 | Permalink

Lots of families have different traditions to celebrate holidays and the 4th of July is no exception!  Why not add or start a new tradition with a couple of events happening in Columbus this weekend that will be the perfect addition to your festive line-up of fun?!

First up, there's the annual Fourth of July Parade at the Springer Opera House.  This thing has gotten bigger and better each year and in fact, this will be the first year there will be a police escort and they'll be closing the block on Broadway between 10th and 11th Streets...just to make it safer and everyone can have a better view.  There are a lot of theatre students involved in the parade and they never disappoint because they all get decked out in their wildest and most photogenic of patriotic costumes!  All the fun here starts at 10:00am at the Mainstage Springer entrance on 10th Street, so get ready to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, sing lots of patriotic songs, make a racket with noise makers and musical instruments and who know what else they have planned to proclaim our thankfulness for the United States of America!

And while you're in the neighborhood, plan a little extra time to wander through all the treasures you can find at Market Days on Broadway.  That will run until 12:00pm or so on Saturday.  Just at tip, if you want the organic eggs, get to that booth early!!

Then, pile everyone in the car and head to the southern part of town for a BIG to-do!  The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center will host its third annual community-wide Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 4. Freedom Fest will be held from 11a.m. to 6 p.m., and will be filled with music, kids’ activities, cannon firings, historical reenactments, food, and fun.  All day, kids will enjoy bounce houses, face and hair painting, balloon animals and Superheroes. The Pint-Sized Patriot Parade starts at 2 p.m. Youngsters are invited to dress up their bicycles, tricycles, and wagons – and themselves! – and parade down Heritage Walk accompanied by John Philip Sousa marches. Judges will award prizes for the most creative displays of patriotism. In the museum’s Grand Hall, parents can get free ID kits for their children through the GaCHIP program.  There’ll be live music throughout the day from Tim Maggart, the Oneeders and the Wayne Miner Band just outside the museum’s rotunda. Large tents will provide seating and shelter from the sun for audiences, but visitors are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets. The Silver Wings Parachute Demonstration Team is expected to drop in at Inouye Field at 2:30 p.m.

New this year will be demonstrations by iK9, an Auburn, Alabama, organization that trains service dogs to assist veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. World War II Company Street will be open for self-guided tours between 11a.m. and 3 p.m. Volunteers will be on hand to help visitors locate names on the Vietnam Wall, and the Memorial Walk of Honor will be open all day.

The IMAX Theatre will be the perfect place to cool off, with alternating screenings of D-Day 3D: Normandy 1944 and We the People for just $5 per person. Visitors can purchase ice cream, barbecue plates, chicken sandwiches, funnel cakes, hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels, beer, frozen mocktails and soft drinks from our vendors. The Fife and Drum restaurant and the IMAX concessions stand will be open for diners who would rather stay indoors.

The museum’s activities will end at 6 p.m. Visitors will be encouraged to head to uptown Columbus or Phenix City for a concert in the riverside amphitheater and fireworks at dark.  The fun by the river begins at 6:30pm.

Looks like a fun-filled weekend...enjoy it with your family!  And Happy Birthday, America!

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Happy Father’s Day!  Treat Dad to some fun this weekend!

Arts, Events, River Fun, Shopping, on Friday, June 19, 2015 | Permalink

Dads.  You got to love 'em.  They work hard all week.  Wrestle with the weedeater on the weekends.  Loves his mother-in-law's cooking. Sits through dance recitals and smile about it.  And will brave the pouring rain to make an ice cream run for the kids.  But this weekend, it's all about treating Dad and making him feel special.  Maybe kick off the celebration with a movie on the beach tonight at Callaway Gardens, or a stroll through Uptown Columbus Market Days Saturday morning so he can stock up on his favorite fruits and veggies...instead of just what the kids want!  Or maybe he's in need of a good laugh so send him to chuckle his way through Spamalot at CSU's Riverside Theatre.  If he's a health-conscious kind of guy or needs to reduce a little stress--and what Dad doesn't--then plan to check out Barefoot in the Park, the International Day of Yoga event at Woodruff Park on Sunday.  They'll be doing all sorts of yoga demonstrations and classes outside and the day even ends with Sunset Paddleboard Yoga on the river!  He can even round out the weekend with some serious old-school fun at the Mr. & Mrs. Club 50's Sock Hop at the Trade Center Saturday night.  And tell him not to worry about his dance skills because they'll be doing a free class at 6:00pm before the dance even starts so he can get warmed up!

There's plenty of other ideas to take a look at on the Event Calendar, but whatever you decide to do with Dad this weekend, he'll just appreciate spending time with you!

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Be a Kid Again…Go Pick some Berries!

Events, Shopping, on Friday, June 12, 2015 | Permalink

When I was a kid, there was a huge row of blackberry bushes that lined the drive to get to my grandparents place on the river.  As trips to the little cabin became more frequent in the Spring and then almost weekly during the Summer, my brother and I would eye these bushes carefully from the very back seat of our station wagon.  As soon as we turned down that dirt road, the anticipation would build as we watched the white blooms appear, then the green berriers, then morphing into a reddish color, and not long after that, those little morsels would appear in all their glory as the deepest purply-black color...which meant it was time to pick and then gorge.  It didn't matter how many battle scars we got on our arms and legs--scars from thorns and the much-dreaded red bugs that meant you'd be scratching for days--with those berries as our prize, it was worth it. 

Those are the kinds of memories that mean so much...and they are so simple.  If you're looking to make a memory with your kids this weekend, there's plenty of activities to get out and do.  One look at the Event Calendar will prove that.  Make sure you take a closer look at the entry from The Rock Ranch, because it's Berry Picking Saturday.  You don't have to do battle with the thorns and other creepy-crawlies to get to these bushes, in fact, you can take your pick from bushes bursting with blackberries and raspberries.  It's the taste of Summer all rolled up into one little fruit.  And if you get there and get too wrapped up in all the other events and activities going on...the Farmer's Market, pony rides, cane pole fishing, paddle boats...they'll even have bags of berries already picked and ready to go.  The Rock Ranch is only about an hour from Columbus, so it's a quick roadtrip and it's quite an adventure. Take your kids, take your family and go make a memory.  And eat some blackberries for me!

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“They’re PAID Vacation Days!”

Arts, Events, on Friday, June 5, 2015 | Permalink

Have you seen the TV ad with the kids talking about how their parents don’t use all their vacation time?  “Just one more day!”  “They’re PAID vacation days!”  It really made me stop and think.  So when I saw an article earlier this week from US Travel Association titled--Japan Wants Workers to Take More Vacation — Here’s Why We Should All Follow Suit, it really got my attention.  All I had to see was the ‘take more vacation’ part and I was immediately drawn into it. 

It seems Japan’s parliament is looking to slash on-the-job hours and push its workforce to take more time off.  There seems to be a huge problem with overwork-related issues in Japan, with workers clocking an average of 173 hours in overtime each year and that’s leading to unprecedented stress.  And Japan isn’t the only country with an overwork issue…seems we Americans leave roughly $224 BILLION worth of paid vacation time on the books.  That's BILLION...with a B.  It was also noted that taking a time-out is good for your heart and actually reduces risk of mortality.  There was a study highlighted from Psychosomatic Medicine that showed men who skipped out on vacation 5 years running were 30% more likely to suffer from a heart attack.  And yet another article went on to say that women who take a vacation once every 6 years were 8 times more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack than women taking 2 vacations per year.  Wake up, people…What’s wrong with us?!  We work hard all year and earn this time, so let’s use it!  The article went on to state that we’re “becoming a nation of work martyrs, coming into the office when we’re sick, wear unused vacation days like a badge of honor, and feel like we have to be seen at our desks early and often.”  Don’t get me wrong, there’s something to be said for soldiering through a day when you don’t feel so great and there are times where you absolutely have to come in early and stay late, but there has to be a good balance of the two. 

So what’s the lesson here?  We have weekends and vacations for a reason.  You have to have a diversion from your work life and find time to relax, reconnect, and recharge your battery.  It can be the full-blown pack-the-car or hop-on-a-jet getaway or the ever-popular ‘stay-cation.’  In fact, if you do plan to stay in your own backyard for your holiday, there are lots of resources out there to help you plan some fun things to do or try some new activities you’ve had on your bucket list for a while.  There’s no better place to start making those plans than with a quick visit to the Event Calendar.  Just this weekend alone, you’ll find anything from a daylily festival, berry picking, hanging out with alligators, an art walk, improv theatre, a burger cook-off, even The Rat Pack in concert.  How’s that for some variety? 

So when it’s quitting time, turn off your computer, inhale and exhale, and go enjoy your weekend or your vacation.  You’ve earned it!

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It’s a good weekend to be a kid in Columbus, GA!

Arts, Events, on Friday, May 29, 2015 | Permalink

Actually, kids of all ages...even us big kids...will find plenty to do this weekend!  Sometimes I think after a big holiday weekend, there won't be much to do or many event happening, but that certainly isn't the case this go-'round.  If you do have young-uns in the family, here're a couple of ideas to get out of the house and enjoy the perfect weather on tap for the next couple of days. 

You can kick things off tonight in Uptown Columbus with the last in the series of the Big To-Do Spring Concert Series.  The groove starts at 7:00pm tonight (May 29) in the 1000 block of Broadway and on stage is Departure:  The Journey Tribute Band.  Take some lawn chairs but chances are, you'll be up dancing most of the night.  Head back down to Uptown with the kiddos Saturday and take a stroll through Market Days on Broadway, then step over to Woodruff Park (along the RiverWalk at Bay Ave) for "Crayons, Crafts, & Kool Kids" going on from 10:00am-4:00pm.  They'll have a big outdoor party with bouncy houses, face painting, sidewalk art, music, food and a whole bunch of kid entrepreneurs with their creations for sale!

The fun continues on for the whole family Saturday night with Showtime at the Liberty Theatre...kind of an homage to Showtime at the Apollo.  They'll have talent categories for kids and adults and they'll be battling it out for some pretty serious prize money.  And I like that the winners are determined by audience applause, but they'll also have some celebrity judges on hand just in case of a tie!

Or, if you're in the mood for some sports, check out the action between the Columbus Lions and the Erie Explosion.  They'll be going head-to-head at the Civic Center Saturday night beginning at 7:00 and if you've never been to an indoor arena football game, it's non-stop action!  And I read that our Columbus Lions are in 1st place, so we need to go cheer them on!!

A little bit of everything for just about everybody going on this weekend.  Go have some fun!

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Three-Day Weekend, Anyone?!  Ummm….Yes, Please!

Arts, Events, History, Good Eats!, on Friday, May 22, 2015 | Permalink

What is it about three-day weekends?  It's only one more day.  24 extra hours. 1440 more minutes.  (But that's me doing math on a Friday, so don't be surprised if that last one is off by a few minutes.)  And what a difference that one day makes.  It gives us all a bit extra time to either kick back and become one with the universe or take advantage of all the stuff going on and get out and have a little well-deserved fun!  Let's compromise and plan to relax for 18% of the weekend and spend the other 82% doing the fun options...ok, that's enough math for me for the entire three-day holiday.  So what's going on, you ask?  Lots.  I would suggest you take a look at the Event Calendar to see your choices and that will make it easier to plan your time.

There's no better way to start any weekend than with the Big To Do Concert Series in Uptown Columbus and tonight is extra special with a band that always draws a huge crowd--Cale Dodds and Classic Addict--and to top it off, Scott Ressmeyer and his riders will be returning from their final ride through all 48 lower states, raising money for the Children's Miracle Network.  If you've never witnessed the return of all these guys driving up on their motorcycles, it is absolutely a sight to see.  And it's all free!

At CSU's Riverside Theatre, there's a hilarious sounding production going on called "Unnecessary Farce."  It's even a "bring your own dinner" dinner theatre and has great date potential written all over it!  This one is probably best suited for ages 18 & older because it involves cops, crooks and a cheap hotel room!

If you love all things cars, there's a Bugs on the Hooch-VW Car Show & Swap Meet at Woodruff Park along the RiverWalk on Saturday from 8:00-3:00pm and they'll have cars from all over the southeast.  Or take the short drive south to Lumpkin, GA and see what's going on at Historic Westville.  It's actually a really great time to pay a visit to this village because they'll have their 1836 Creek War & Cultural Event all day Saturday and Sunday and it will put you right in the middle of all the action.  The village will be inhabited by Muscogee Creek Indians and they'll be eager to share their traditions, skills and stories with you and you can talk to military and citizens and hear first-hand accounts from re-enactors who'll be telling you why the war happened and how folks on both sides felt about it.  Look for 3 separate battles to take place and you will definitely have one of those "You Were There" moments!

And of course, we can't have a Memorial Day Weekend without talking about some events to celebrate the holiday like the 56th Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament at Callaway Gardens that goes on through Sunday.  Not only will you get to see the world's best water skiers and wakeboarders go after the trophy and some serious prize money, but they will have the event jam-packed with all sorts of things to take part in like their farmer's market, beach activities, kid's zone, great food, drink specials, movies on the beach and even fireworks.  Or take in the fun they've planned at Florence Marina State Park Saturday-Monday so take a picnic lunch and then dive into all the games and activites they have planned.

So grill out, enjoy your friends and family, have a little fun, but most importantly, be safe and remember the real reason we celebrate this holiday!

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And so it begins….....the Weekend, that is!!

Arts, Events, History, Good Eats!, River Fun, Shopping, on Friday, May 8, 2015 | Permalink

And what a weekend this is shaping up to be.  Looks like everything is falling into place for this to be one of those extra special weekends with so much stuff going on and believe it or not, it seems Mother Nature is even going to cooperate and send us perfect weather to enjoy all the fun!  You're on your own as far as trying to figure out how to fit all this in the next 2 1/2 days, but if that's the biggest problem we have all weekend, well, I'll take that.

This big fun-filled weekend kicks off tonight with the return of Uptown’s RiverFest and a whole gaggle of events that go along with it!  Tonight, the Uptown Concert Series will feature live music on the main stage at Woodruff Park.  On Saturday, things get started early at 9:00am with the Boy Scout Expo invading Woodruff Park with geocaching activities, Tomahawk throwing contest, outdoor cook off, archery activities and more.  Meanwhile, lots of stuff happening on the Chattahoochee with the 3rd Annual Uptown Dragon Boat Race (in front of the Coca-Cola Space Science Center), and upstream, there’s live music, Stand Up Paddling, kayak demos, rafting.  And if you’re hungry or in the mood to do a little shopping, the Dillingham Street Bridge will have food trucks, local eateries and vendors galore!  And speaking of the live music part, make sure you find your way back to the stage Saturday night at 9:30 for the headliners, The Swon Brothers—2015 American Country Music Dup of the Year Nominees and they were top 3 on The Voice!  How much for all this fun?  FREE.  (unless you want to go rafting or ziplining, there’s a cost for that but look for special pricing during the festival!) 

If you haven't had a chance to be a part of one of the Drum Circles that have been going on this Spring, the last one in this series is Saturday night (6:00-9:00pm) and if you're in the mix of RiverFest, walk another block north along the RiverWalk and you'll be right smack in the middle of some good vibrations!  And don't worry, you don't even have to know which end of a drum to hold to be a part of this...they'll even furnish you with something to bang on.  Talk about a great way to work out some frustrations.......

So as if this isn't enough to keep you hopping until Monday, don't overlook some of the other event happening like the award-winning production of "Born Yesterday" at the Springer Opera House (it's also happening next weekend if you need to have something to look forward to), or take the quick drive to The Rock Ranch for the 5th Annual Strawberry Festival--and yes, they'll have homemade strawberry ice cream and strawberry shortcake.  You had me at shortcake.  If you plan your day carefully, you'll even have time for the 8th Annual Picnic in the Garden at Hills and Dales in LaGrange.  You know it's going to be a real picnic when they bring out badminton, croquet and bocce ball games!  Bring you picnic basket and you get in free!

Get all the details you need on these and lots...and I do mean lots...of other events.  Just take a look at the Event Calendar to get the scoop.

Enough typing.  It's time to put for us to put on comfy jeans and good walking shoes and let's get this weekend started.

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Finally…A Rain-Free Weekend!

Arts, Events, Good Eats!, on Friday, May 1, 2015 | Permalink

Is it just me or is everyone else chomping at the bit to get outside and play?!  If the weather guys got it right, it looks like and absolutely perfect Spring weekend, which works out great because there's so much to get out and enjoy.  A great way to kick things off tonight is with the Big To Do Concert in Uptown Columbus and performing tonight is everyone's favorite...Peggy Jenkins!  She and her band know how to put on a show that will have everyone up and dancing in the streets of Broadway.  And you actually get a double-dose of fun tonight because it's also the First Friday Artwalk along Broadway.  I walked by there a bit ago and it looked like the artists are setting up some really interesting stuff.

Plan to head back down to Uptown Saturday morning because of course you'll be able to wind your way through the tons of vendors set up for Market Days on Broadway, but there's also something extra special going on that kicks off at 9:00am.  It's something a little out of the ordinary, and frankly more than a little bit silly...but that's the whole point with "Strut the Hooch!"  The sillier the better!  It's  zany parade of fun folks, just for the fun of it.  The parade will showcase silliness and include such entries as a Ukulele Band, bagpipes, small antique vehicles, musical groups, clowns, stilt walkers, and who knows what else you might see!  All this goofiness will proceed up Broadway from 10th to 12th street and return.  Take your kids to this one...they'll get a big kick out of it!

And don't forget, it's the first weekend in May so that means the "Granddaddy of Southern Festivals," the Cotton Pickin' Fair will be going on all day Saturday and Sunday.  If you've been before, then you probably already have plotted out the booths you'll visit and how to pace yourself with all the food you're going to eat.  If you haven't been before, go and then prepared to be amazed at this festival.  It's set in the middle of a beautiful meadow and barn and it's chocked full of antique dealers, entertainment, and more food choices than you can shake a stick at!

Just think...a weekend with no rain, no humidity, and no heat.  You'd better get out and enjoy this while it lasts!

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RiverFest Weekend in Uptown Columbus

Arts, Events, Good Eats!, River Fun, on Monday, April 27, 2015 | Permalink

Let's start the countdown! Only 10 more days until Uptown's RiverFest Weekend! With live music, food, boy scout expo, and more, this is a must-see, must-do festival. Know what makes it even better? It's FREE! There is no admission! Seriously, this is a big weekend, folks. In addition to an already fantastic lineup of bands, you get to see The Swon Brothers, winner of TV's The Voice on Saturday evening. For a full line-up of events and acts, click here. The fun will kick off Friday, May 8 with Music and a Movie at 6pm at the Phenix City Amphitheatre and at 7pm, P-Funk Connection will take the stage in Woodruff Park. It starts up early on Saturday and between the boy scout expo, sidewalk arts festival, lots of live music, the Dragon Boat Races, the Hometown Throwdown at RiverWalk Island, the Singer Songwriter Concerts and all the yummy food you have to try, I don't know how you will get it all in. But I have faith that you'll manage! Mark your calendars now! May 8 & 9, 2015.


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So what?  It’s a rainy weekend.  At least it’s the weekend!

Arts, Events, on Friday, April 17, 2015 | Permalink

What's that old saying about "April Showers?"  Whoever coined that phrase sure got it right this week.  I'm certainly no meteorolgist, in fact I'm not even sure if I spelled it correctly, but looks like we're taking care of any rain deficit we had this year.  So we're all in agreement that we need the rain, but why, oh why did it have to rain out most of the outdoor activities this weekend?  Guess timing is everything, but not to worry, they've already rescheduled one of the big festivals that was set for this weekend, Frogtown Hollow Jam, moving it to next weekend (April 24 & 25).

And lest your spirits be dampened by the downpours and deluges (bad pun but it had to be done), there's still plenty of indoor fun on the horizon.  Just did a little research on the Event Calendar, and found a pretty impressive list of inside events you might want to look into.  The Springer Opera House just opened a show this week called "Why, Baby, Why?  The Music of George Jones and Tammy Wynette."  And man, what an opening...first night--SOLD OUT!  So my suggestion would be to call post haste and order your tickets before more shows sell out.  And for a little comedy relief, there's No Shame Theatre which takes place every Friday night beginning at 10:30 and admission is only $5.  The beauty of this show is that it's never the same thing twice and you never know what you might see on stage!

Across the street at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, you've got a choice of a performance of "The Great Gatsby" Saturday night or on Sunday, the Schwob School of Music at CSU is offering all sorts of musical options with anything from a Choral Concert, Horn, Trombone and Guitar Studio Recitals...whatever kind of music you like, chances are they'll have something for you.

The Liberty Theatre has a production underway called "Vengeance:  A Gospel Stage Play."  Hearing a lot of good buzz about this one and why not...anything with vengeance and gospel in the title has got to be interesting!

If you're in an artsy mood, check out all the happenings at the Columbus Museum with their "Let There Be Art" event.  They've got tons of stuff planned all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

And just the short drive up to La Grange to Hills & Dales Estate, you'll find an Ivy Topiary workshop taking place on Saturday, so you guys with the green thumbs will love hearing what these master gardeners have to share with you.  Sure wish I wasn't a plant-killer.

Whatever you do this weekend, stay safe, have fun and try and stay dry!

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