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Posted: November 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Turning out to support the troops

Legion Auxiliary-sponsored fest gathers items for Operation Sandbox

Photo by Kari Apted/

A slice of home: Operation Sandbox founder Virginia Pearson instructs volunteers from the Army National Guard 1-121 Bravo Company at a 2006 event as they prepare to fill boxes to send to soldiers deployed overseas.

In honor of those who have served and who are serving in the U.S. armed forces, Operation Sandbox and American Legion members have partnered to present a Support Our Troops Bike Ride and Festival Saturday.

"We joined forces this year to make it a bigger event," said Virginia Pearson, director of Operation Sandbox Georgia.

Pearson, director of Operation Sandbox, organized a charity bike ride beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Granite Mountain Harley-Davidson on Dogwood Drive in Conyers.

"They’ll ride through the Rockdale and Newton County countryside and end up on the square where the rest of the event will take place," Pearson said.

All makes and models are welcome on the ride, which will be escorted by Rockdale and Newton county sheriff’s deputies. Each bike requires a $20 donation as the registration fee. All proceeds will go toward mailing costs as well as buying items that Operation Sandbox volunteers use to fill care packages to send to active duty soldiers.

Once riders arrive on the square they will be greeted with musical entertainment and food provided by American Legion Unit 32 out of Covington.

Musical entertainment includes ‘50s, ‘60s and ’70s rock cover band The Archmen, as well as an Elvis, a Johnny Cash and a Patsy Cline impersonator.

Other entertainment consists of a car show around the square including a Humvee with soldiers and a General Lee out of Charlotte, N.C., Dunebuggy the Clown, and children’s games and activities.

The event on the square will last from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

"We’re encouraging people to come out and enjoy themselves as well as bring us the items we need for the packages," Pearson said.

For more information about Operation Sandbox Georgia or the items needed for their care packages, visit www.operationsandboxga.com or call (770) 784-9155.

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