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Geranium Festival on the
horizon in McDonough


By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

  Spring is here, and that means one of Henry County’s most successful traditions is just around the corner.

  The 37th annual Geranium Festival will be May 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown McDonough. Admission and parking are free for the event. Parking will be available at Henry County High School and at the parking deck of the Henry County Judicial Center.

Festival goers at the 2013 Geranium Festival had plenty to eat, purchase and see. The 37th annual Geranium Festival will be held Saturday, May 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.           Photo by Nick Vassy

  The festival, sponsored each year by the McDonough Lions Club, will feature about 300 vendors offering arts and crafts, food and a variety of services for the community according to event Chairman, Ed Galbreath. He estimated 25-30,000 people will attend the festival.

  “It’s maintained its quality as an arts and crafts festival,” he said. “I think people come there because they find things they have difficulty finding at other places. We have such great vendors that come every year. We’ve been able to attract good quality people who have come, and it’s just a quality event.”

  Galbreath added that a mixture of new and existing vendors will take part in the festival.

  “We do have a mixture of new people coming in,” he said. “One of the things I’m excited about is, we have some people coming in to do a health fair. I’ve wanted to do that for several years, and this opportunity has come up. I think it’s a great thing.”

  This year’s event also marks the launch of a free Geranium Festival app, which can download onto a Smartphone or Tablet device. Galbreath said the app will enable people to download maps of the festival, as well as a list of vendors who are scheduled to participate.

  “It’s free and quick and it’s a great app,” he said. “It will really help them. It will make their experience better.”

  Members of the Lions Club will be on hand to provide eye screenings for guests at the festival, said Galbreath.

  “This is just a preliminary eye screening,” he said. “There might be an indicator that they have something wrong, and they would be encouraged to see an eye doctor. We won’t have an eye doctor there. This is just members of the Lions Club who are doing the screening.”

  Galbreath said attendees at the festival are encouraged to bring their old eyeglasses to the festival, to be sent to other countries to assist people with vision problems.

  “We have places where they can drop those off as they enter the festival,” he said. “Imagine a person in first or second grade who can’t see the blackboard. It just helps people who need eyeglasses to be able to see.”

  Festival-goers will also be able to interact with representatives from a Christian radio station, 93.3 The Joy FM, beginning at noon. Commemorative T-shirts will be available for purchase during the festival, featuring a logo designed by Locust Grove High School student Jennifer Curra, who recently won a contest sponsored by McDonough Arts.

  Galbreath said more than 75 local students are set to contribute their time to help make the festival a success.

  “We have over 25 student volunteers, and then we are going to have 50 ROTC volunteers,” he said. “We’ve never had quite that number before, but that’s going to be a great help to us.”

  A shuttle will be available, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to take people from Henry County High School to the festival gate on the day of the event. Galbreath credited the City of McDonough – and specifically McDonough Police and the Public Works Department -- for their efforts as part of the event.

  “They do such a phenomenal job with making it possible,” he said. “It’s just an amazing thing, what all the city does.”

  For more information, visit



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