Raise the woof!

Chicken-flavored chews, summer do's, dock diving techniques, and the latest in canine fashion are likely to be among the hot topics at Star 94's Woofstock event on Saturday, May 3. The tail-wagging fun gets started at noon at Town Center Park.

Star 94's annual Pet Party in the Park caters to furry, four-legged family members and their two-legged companions. This year's event will feature Frisbee and dock diving shows, pet vendors, rescue groups, pet adoptions, clinics and workshops, live music, food trucks, inflatables for children, contests, and fun for the whole family. See the full schedule.

The musical headliner is A Great Big World, whose set is sure to include its #1 smash "Say Something" (minus the accompaniment of Christina Aguilera).  A New York-based pop singer-and-songwriter duo, A Great Big World will take the Town Center stage at 4:15 p.m. Also performing are The Lance Price Band at 3 p.m. and The Dave Mathews Tribute Band at 6:15 p.m.

Four-legged party-goers must be on a leash. No alcohol may be brought into Town Center Park, but food and beverages, including beer and wine, may be purchased from event vendors and Town Center merchants.

Art on a Limb

The dogwoods have bloomed. The azaleas have peaked. Any day now, art pieces will be blooming along the Suwanee Creek Greenway and at community parks as the City of Suwanee celebrates its annual finders-keepers Art on a Limb program.

For this year's program, which begins May 1, potter and former music teacher Richard Shivers has created 8-inch, green, ceramic frog bowls. The bowls, decorated with leafy tree branches and one of the phrases from Suwanee's "Live Well. Play Hard. Smile More!" slogan, are meant to be placed in a garden or landscaped areas around the yard. On the backside of the bowls, Shivers has etched leaves or a wood grain pattern.

"I've set the bowls out in my yard in garden areas," says Shivers. "They gather a little bit of water and then I find frogs or butterflies in them."

Shivers decided to submit the bowls for consideration for this year's Art on a Limb program both for the challenge of doing something new and to support the community. "I appreciate so much the fact that the City of Suwanee is a promoter of the arts in the community," he says. "Art is part of so much of what Suwanee does. As an artist and musician, I appreciate that. To have art in front of people all the time – that's a wonderful thing."

Through Art on a Limb, the City of Suwanee hides two pieces of art along the Suwanee Creek Greenway or at Sims Lake and White Street parks each day throughout the month of May. Those who find the art pieces get to keep them!


Photo by Bill Mahan

Putting public art in its place

The City of Suwanee and ArtWorks! Gwinnett are hosting a public art forum, entitled "Development Drivers: Public Art & Placemaking," for government officials, business leaders, and developers on Thursday, May 1. The session begins in Council Chambers on the second floor of Suwanee City Hall with a continental breakfast and networking at 7:30 a.m. and the presentation starting at 8.

The seminar is free and open to the public, but registration is required by April 29. Those interested may register at artworksgwinnett.org/?p=4416.

Seminar speakers are Bruce Green, tourism product development manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Heather Alhadeff, president of Center Forward, an Atlanta-based land use and transportation consulting firm.

The City of Suwanee is committed to embracing public art as a means to enhance its citizens' quality of life and the community's sense of identity. Artworks! Gwinnett promotes arts throughout Gwinnett County.

Jazzed up for Food Truck Friday

Suwanee's next Food Truck Friday event will be on Friday, May 2. Food truck fare will be served up from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at Town Center Park.

Several area high school bands will perform on the Town Center stage as they present a Night of Jazz beginning at 6 p.m. The high schools performing include Collins Hill, Flowery Branch, North Gwinnett, and Peachtree Ridge.

The tentative food truck line-up: Atlanta Burger, Chay J's, Freckled & Blue, King of Pops, Nana G's Chicken and Waffles, Pressed for Time, Rey's Cuban Food, Sweet Auburn Barbecue, and Texas Tacos.  Please note that this line-up is subject to change.

No alcohol may be brought to Town Center Park, but beer and wine may be purchased from licensed Town Center restaurants and consumed on site.

Fresh and local

Fresh produce, spicy salsas, sweet honey, and colorful flowers return to Town Center when the Suwanee Farmers Market opens for the 2014 season on Saturday, May 3. The farmers market will be open from 8 am-noon Saturdays through October 4 and 4-7 pm Tuesdays through August 5.

In addition to produce, herbs, and flowers, other items available at the market include jams, jellies, cakes, cookies, breads, pies, and honey as well as eggs, plants, and meat, dairy, and organic products.

"We're excited and amazed that the Suwanee Farmers Market is already in its 10th season," says Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "We've been fortunate to have a loyal group of farmers and other vendors as well as a lot of regular customers. The market has really become not only a great place to find fresh, delicious items, but also a place for old friends to gather."

Suwanee Day x 2 = Suwanee Fest!

After 30 years, Suwanee's annual celebration of community is becoming a two-day festival. Suwanee Day is being rebranded as Suwanee Fest and will be celebrated Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21, at Town Center Park.

"For many years, we prided ourselves on the fact that Suwanee Day was one of the best and most well-attended one-day festivals around," says Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Our popularity has caught up with us, and now we look forward to making Suwanee Fest even bigger, and especially better."

Applications for Suwanee Fest are now being accepted from fine arts and arts and crafts exhibitors, who will be selected through a jury process, as well as food vendors and entertainment acts. The deadline is June 1.


Town Center Park, circa August 2003

S&P upgrades City to highest rating

Standard & Poor's (S&P), one of the big three among financial rating agencies, has upgraded the City of Suwanee's rating for its general obligation bond debt to AAA, the highest rating available.

After completing a review of the City's rating, which had been AA, S&P upgraded the City to AAA with a stable outlook based on the City's continued economic expansion. "We consider the City's economy to be very strong," S&P says in its report. "The stable outlook reflects our anticipation that the City will maintain its very strong liquidity and budgetary flexibility."

Suwanee is one of only four Georgia cities to have earned a AAA rating from S&P. The others are Roswell, Peachtree City, and Smyrna, which also was just upgraded. Alpharetta has a AAA rating from Moody's.

"This is like going to the doctor and getting a really clean bill of health," says Mayor Jimmy Burnette. "We are confident that Suwanee is fiscally strong with sound financial policies and practices, but sometimes people don't believe you unless someone else says it's so. We're extremely proud that S&P has independently found Suwanee to be extremely fiscally fit."

The City of Suwanee initially obtained a general obligation rating in 2002 when it issued bonds to fund its award-winning open space initiative, which resulted in the acquisition of more than 300 acres of greenspace and the creation of six parks. The City's initial rating was a AA- from both S&P and Fitch Ratings. Since then, the ratings from each agency have been periodically recalibrated and upgraded. The City currently has a AA+ rating from Fitch.

Be part of Peace, Love & Arts in the Park

Arts in the Park will return to Town Center Park for the fourth year on Saturday, May 17, with a retro theme of Peace, Love & Arts in the Park. Presented by the North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA) and sponsored by Nalley Automotive, Arts in the Park celebrates art in all its wonderful forms.

Artists who wish to exhibit – and perhaps demonstrate – their work at the juried May 17 festival are invited to apply for booth space at suwaneeartsinthepark.com.  Artwork to be exhibited will include jewelry, painting, pottery, woodworking, glass, photography, iron, multimedia, and more. Applications are due April 30; the application fee is $75. Cash prizes will be awarded to best of show exhibitors in a variety of categories.

"I love all the creativity in the air," says NGAA President Vickie Johnson of the annual festival. "It's exciting for me to see how young people really get into this. There's just such an energy. It's really an extension of Suwanee's play, live, and smile. It's the creative side of Suwanee."

Cowboy Dancers by Alan Akins Around the Bend by Kyle Breen Pump Up Suwanee by Kyle Breen Sayonara Summer by Autumn Crowley Millenials are the Image Nation by Andrew Draper Recovery by Andrew Draper I've Got My Eyes on You by Carla Hoff Reflection by Boo Kirsch Hynes Colorful Cultural Sounds by Karl Lamb Quiet Time by Karl Lamb Iron Angel by Jammie Partee Monkey in the Middle by Laura Shinliver Remember by Terry Vegte
Click on the image to enlarge a photo.

2014 Snap Suwanee winners

Suwanee's new 9-11 memorial, other public art, parks, and events are featured in the 2014 Snap Suwanee photo exhibit, currently on display at Suwanee City Hall. Thirteen photographs by 10 different photographers were selected to be part of the 2014 exhibit, which will remain on display at least through the remainder of the year.

Each year the City of Suwanee hosts a community photo competition. This year, 76 Snap Suwanee entries were received from 23 photographers. The winning photos are displayed in the first floor foyer area at City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue. The exhibit may be viewed 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For the first time this year, some of the winning photographs were submitted via Instagram.

"They say that a picture's worth a thousand words," says Public Information Officer Lynne DeWilde. "Each of the Snap Suwanee winning photos tells a story about the Suwanee community. We're excited to share the colorful, contemplative vision portrayed in the 2014 exhibit."

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