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Several new events tentatively planned this year for Porterdale
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Porterdale Downtown Manager Sandy Fowler presented a list of tentative events and festivals to the city council at their regular Monday night meeting.

Annual events such as Fireworks in the Village and the Yellow River Jam are in the mix as well as some new fundraisers and festivals. Fowler said the events are hinged upon fundraising efforts.

"If I see that I am not getting the kind of participation I need for a certain event," she said, "then it won’t happen."

The first event is a tentative workday to set up a community garden on Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, which has now become a national day of service. Fowler said she has teamed with Hands on Newton, the Newton Extension Service and Master Gardeners to create a Newton County Community Garden site.

"The garden will consist of 70 raised beds available for lease on a first-come-first-serve basis," Fowler said of the plot that will be located next to city hall. "As this location receives ample sunlight, it is a prime area for exposure to the community and security via our police department."

On Feb. 13 Fowler would like to hold a Valentine’s Day Sock Hop as a fundraiser for other downtown events. Tickets for dancing and light refreshments will be $25 a couple and will go on sale Sunday at city hall and the city hall annex.

From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. March 17, Fowler has planned another fundraiser in the form of a St. Patty’s Day Party in the alley with music, food and green beer provided by the Porterdale Bar & Grill.

At the end of March she would like to host a spring fair similar to the Yellow River Jam in the fall with vendors, bands and children’s attractions. She said she is currently accepting suggestions for a festival name.

For Easter she would like to bring all the city churches together for an Easter egg hunt in the newly designated Yellow River Park. Also in April, Pickin’n Porterdale will resume on the second and forth Friday of the month until Oct. 22. Various artists will begin performances at 6:30 p.m. and play until 9 p.m.

A Ladies of Porterdale Mother/Daughter Tea is scheduled for early May as a fundraiser. Tickets will go on sale, March 30 — $10 for adults, $5 for children — and will be available at city hall and the annex.

The Friends of Porterdale will host a Roast of Betty F. Jaynes on May 15 at Turner Lake Park.

"She has been a leading figure in the sport of women’s basketball for over 40 years in the Porterdale and Newton County area," Fowler said of the dinner event. Tickets are currently on sale at and proceeds will go toward the renovation of the Porterdale Gymnasium

Fowler said she would also like to add a Memorial Day parade and make the Fireworks in the Village event on July 4 an even grander event spanning two days.

The final new proposed events would be big screen showings on NASCAR Nights in the Alley for the Bristol, Richmond and Charlotte races. Food and beverage will be available. Cost is planned at $10 for adults and $5 for children.

The Yellow River Jam is again planned for early October and the annual Christmas in the Village Parade and 2nd Porterdale TUBAChristmas in early December.

Fowler said the schedule is bursting and that it will take hard work to raise necessary funds, but that even in a recession she was able to complete 2009 with half of her $6,000 budget remaining because of generous donations.

"And I want to thank each and every one of you on behalf of the downtown program for your efforts," Fowler said to the council.

She encouraged council members to pick an event as their passion project.

"I think this is feasible if we all wrap our arms around it," she said.

Signature events put communities on the map, Fowler said, and Porterdale’s events were making it the gem of Newton County.

"It’s going to be Party-dale instead of Porterdale," she laughed.