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Fest caps weekend for family
Activities aplenty Saturday, Sunday
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Forsyth County News
Fall may not officially start until later this month, but that’s not stopping festivities throughout Forsyth County.

From a boogie ball and Latin American celebration to a multi-denominational church festival and a rally against federal spending, there is something for nearly everyone this weekend.

Forsyth Family Fest

Forsyth Family Fest, the largest of the weekend’s happenings, is Sunday at the Cumming Fairgrounds.

Nearly 30 area churches have joined together for the free event, a combination concert, fall festival and worship service that is expected to attract a crowd of thousands.

The daylong event brings some big names to town, including Will Graham, the grandson of Billy Graham, who will preach in the morning and evening. Other artists, including Toby Mac, formerly of DC Talk, Steve Fee and gospel singer Canton Jones, are also scheduled to perform.

Younger attendees can enjoy a carnival-type atmosphere, including face painting, balloon animals and inflatables.

New Song Community Church Senior Pastor Steve Jackson, one of the event’s organizers, has described the festival as “simply unprecedented.”

“While Forsyth County has lots of churches, there are a lot of people in the community that churches aren’t reaching,” he said. “The days of people coming to church just because you have a church are over.

“The church has to go out to the people.”

Forsyth Family Fest is set for 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the Cumming Fairgrounds. Contact:

Taste of Latin America

The fourth annual Taste of Latin America will offer a variety of food and dancing Saturday at Cane Creek Farm in west Forsyth.

There also will be a silent auction, featuring indigenous handcrafted artwork.

“We have a Columbian woman who is a professional cook here in Cumming. She is making a lot of the food,” said organizer Jeff Pugh.

“I’m going to be cooking a good bit myself and one of our Chilean board members is also going to be doing some cooking, as well as a Mexican volunteer. There’s a pretty diverse bit of country backgrounds in the people who are participating in this.”

Pugh, who founded the event with his mother Lynn, is also the executive director of the festival’s beneficiary, the Center for Mediation, Peace and Resolution of Conflict.

The Forsyth-based organization works internationally to promote peacebuilding and nonviolent resolutions.

More than 140 people attended last year’s gathering.

“This, to me, is a way of connecting my worlds,” said Pugh, who has studied in Ecuador and other Latin American countries. “The kind of work I’m doing in Latin America to create peace I’m also doing here in north Georgia to teach children about effective conflict resolution.

“But with this event, the most important thing is that people have fun and enjoy themselves.”

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the farm, 5110 Jekyll Road. Cost is $25 for adults and $12.50 for children. Contact:

Bark and Boogie Ball

The fifth annual Bark and Boogie Ball, which benefits the Humane Society of Forsyth County, will be held Saturday at a different venue, said organizer Debbie Booth.

“We wanted to kind of shake it up a little and do something different,” she said. “The different venue is for the people who’ve come every year.
It’s nice to have a little bit of a change.”

The event will be held at the Metropolitan Club, down the street from the Alpharetta Marriott, the previous venue.

In addition to a live auction, the ball will feature piano player, dinner and dancing, with music provided by Band-X.

“They’re awesome,” she said. “I think everybody’s going to have a real good time with Band-X. I think it’s going to be fabulous.”

The ball is set for 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday at the Metropolitan Club, 5895 Windward Parkway in Alpharetta. Tickets are $75 per person. Contact:

End Tax and Spend Rally

Local residents will stage their own demonstration against federal spending Saturday in conjunction with the national 9.12.09 March on Washington.

The End Tax and Spend Rally is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. at the Forsyth County Courthouse in downtown Cumming.

“Not everybody can get on a bus and travel to Washington, so we’re giving local people an opportunity to get involved right here in Cumming,” said Brad Wilkins, one of six organizers.

“[The rally] is going to focus on people’s concerns on the upcoming health care reform bill, the cap and trade policy they’ve been discussing and any other high-debt, high-spending bill coming out of Washington right now.”

An invitation to speak was extended to candidates vying for the Ninth District congressional seat being vacated by Nathan Deal in his run for governor.

All candidates were invited, Wilkins said, because “one of them has to end up winning, and whoever represents us in the Ninth District will be voting on these very same issues that the citizens are so interested in.”

“[It’s] something to give people right here in the county a chance to get their voices heard.”

Fall Family Festival

Johns Creek will celebrate the approaching change of seasons Saturday during its 2009 Fall Family Festival.

Sponsored by the Johns Creek Recreation and Parks Division and the Newtown Park Athletic Association, the event will feature food, games, music and arts and crafts.

The festival is set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Newtown Park, 3150 Old Alabama Road.


Staff Writer Frank Reddy contributed to this story.