Chamber Announces New Additions to Dogwood Festival | Arts & Culture
Perry, GA-The Perry Area Chamber of Commerce held a press conference Tuesday morning to unveil a flurry of plans for the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the Dogwood Festival scheduled for April 13th and 14th. Details included a Dogwood Tree Planting Project, the addition of a DockDog Competition during the two day Arts and Crafts Show in Downtown Perry, a Hot Air Balloon Rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds, and ten sanctioned events being produced during the two day festival. Chamber officials also unveiled the Official Art for the 25th Annual Dogwood Festival as well as a new logo and website design.
2012 Perry Chamber Chairman Rob Brooks opened the gathering with information regarding the Dogwood Tree Planting project stating “An anniversary festival is the perfect time to reflect on the history of the event and also provide ways to strengthen the future. This belief is what led the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce to partner with private individuals who are invested in the community and the City of Perry to collaborate in the planting of 25 Cherokee Princess Dogwood Trees in key points around Downtown Perry.” The trees were planted in Rotary Park, in front of the entrance into Downtown Perry on General Courtney Hodges Blvd, and surrounding the newly renovated Perry Arts Center. Chairman Brooks thanked the individuals who personally donated to the project including State Senator Ross Tolleson, State Representative Larry O’Neal, State Representative Robert Dickey, State Representative Buddy Hardin, Former State Representative Larry Walker, and Perry resident David Walker. He stated “Without these individuals’ personal investment and the City of Perry providing the planting and ongoing maintenance this project would not have been possible.”
Other items covered included the unveiling of the 25th Anniversary Dogwood Festival Official Art. Festival Co-Founder Kathy O’Neal introduced Perry resident Gloria Ragland who presented her commissioned piece to the Perry Chamber of Commerce. The artwork will be used in a variety of ways including on festival t-shirts and art prints which will be sold during the April events.
Rob Brooks announced the expansion of what has traditionally been a two day Arts and Crafts event with the addition of a DockDog Competition which will be located on Main Street April 13th and 14th during the festival and free to visitors. Community Partners OdoBan and PetsRule were present to give details concerning the addition which included an explanation of the layout and points system an official DockDog Competition requires. Since the Dogwood Festival is now an Official Preliminary Competition, dogs from across the Nation will compete at the Perry event vying to win the regional title so they can move on to the National DockDog Competition in Las Vegas in the fall. Chairman Brooks mentioned “This new component of the Dogwood Festival will not only serve as a new attraction for festival goers, but will also create an economic impact for the City of Perry as competition teams arrive, eat in local restaurants, patron local businesses and spend the night in local hotels. We estimate over 300 room nights based on around 100 competition teams being in Perry for three days.”
The downtown component of the Dogwood Festival is not the only part of the programming expansion. 2013 Perry Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Beth McLaughlin made an announcement that excited the crowd. She stated “The Dogwood Festival presents a thrilling new element to its lineup for 2013 with the addition of a Hot Air Balloon Rally.” McLaughlin further explained the event, “The Hot Air Balloon Rally is scheduled for April 13th beginning at 4pm and features 15 Hot Air Balloons providing tethered rides and an evening glow weather permitting, a kid’s zone with exciting games and activities, live music throughout the event, and food vendors.” Although food vendors will be at the event guests will be encouraged to bring picnics and lawn chairs to spread out and enjoy the afternoon with family and friends.
McLaughlin went on to announce the sanctioned events associated with the 2013 Dogwood festival and gave definition to what an Official Dogwood Festival Sanctioned Event is, “These are events which are produced by community organizations during the Dogwood Festival. These events become a part of the festival umbrella and are presented as Official Events taking place during the April 13th and 14th.” She went on to list the ten sanctioned events which include the Dogwood Pageants presented by the Perry High School Cheerleaders on March 9th, Art in the Armory presented by the Perry Arts Center Advisory Board on April 12th through14th, 25th Annual Dogwood Festival Official Kick-Off Party presented by the New Perry Hotel on April 12th, Dogwood Festival 5k and 1 mile health walk presented by Elite Sport and Spine on April 13th , Festival Flapjack Fundraiser presented by the Kiwanis Club of Perry on April 13th, Charity Bass Tournament and Raffle presented by the Perry Rotary Club on April 13th, Echoes of Evergreen Cemetery Tours presented by the Perry Area Historical Society on April 13th, Your Dogwood Play at Rozar presented by the Friends of the Perry Animal Shelter on April 14th, the Dogwood Doggy Costume Contest presented by the PET Plantation Funeral Home and Canine Clubhouse on April 14th, and the 1st Annual Kids Fishing Derby presented by the Go Fish Education Center on April 14th.
A new logo and website design are also a part of the changes for the 25th Annual Dogwood Festival. Officials encouraged everyone to visit www.perrydogwoodfestival.com for festival information and a full schedule of events available now. A ceremonial tree planting commemorating the Dogwood Festival Tree Planting project closed the morning’s festivities. Mayor Jimmy Faircloth also reminded attendees about the Dogwood Seedling giveaway on January 25th. The City of Perry is giving away free Dogwood Seedlings at City Hall as a part of the national Arbor Day celebrations. Supplies are limited and the event is first come first served.