2017 News Releases

December 14, 2017

A Post-Holiday Purpose for Those (Formerly) Live Christmas Trees

Ah, the magic of December 26 – wrapping paper is still strewn across the living room, batteries have finally been found for all the new toys,…and the Christmas tree has dropped nearly all of its needles on the floor.

When your live tree is past its fragrant, sparkly prime, give it a new sense of purpose through the City of Suwanee's "treecycling" campaign, which is part of Keep Georgia Beautiful's annual 'Bring One for the Chipper' program.

Area residents may drop off their former living Christmas trees at Sims Lake Park, located at 4600 Suwanee Dam Road, from December 26 through January 31. Decorations, lights, and stands should be removed from all trees prior to donating. Last year, mulch from nearly 1,200 former Christmas trees was spread in Suwanee parks.

Volunteers will be available to assist with unloading, as well as handing out sawtooth oak and catalpa seedlings (while supplies last) from 9 am-4 pm Saturday, January 6, 2018.

Adult and teen volunteers are needed to assist January 7. To volunteer, contact Nicole Schnepper at nschnepper@suwanee.com or 770-945-8996.

November 13, 2017

Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Center)!

The man, the myth, the legend is coming to Suwanee to light the Town Center tree, listen to Christmas wishes, and take photos with all the good little girls and boys at the City of Suwanee's annual Jolly Holly Day event on Friday, December 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Santa Claus will magically arrive to meet with children and families, while performances from Royal Dance Academy, local elementary school choruses, North Gwinnett Middle School Drama, and Sounds of Suwanee grace the stage. After lighting the Town Center Christmas tree at the end of the event, Santa will board his sleigh and returning to the North Pole to prepare for his Christmas night journey!

Parents, be sure to bring cameras or phones to snap your own complimentary photos! Kids: DON'T FORGET YOUR CHRISTMAS LISTS! Free hot chocolate, cookies, s'mores, and holiday crafts (while supplies last); Jolly Holly Day will kick off the Christmas season in true Suwanee fashion!

For more information regarding Suwanee's Jolly Holly Day event, please contact Events & Outreach Manager Amy Doherty at adoherty@suwanee.com or 770-904-3387.

November 8, 2017

Annual Snap Suwanee Photo Contest

The City of Suwanee is accepting submissions through December 31 for its annual Snap Suwanee photo competition. The annual photography competition provides a means for participants to share images that convey something telling about the Suwanee community, and is open to professional and amateur photographers alike.

The mission of the contest is to celebrate the City of Suwanee; therefore, all photos entered will ideally be composed of subjects and locations within the Suwanee city limits within the past two years (with the exception of the #TBT category). A panel of judges will select images that best depict Suwanee in each of the following categories:

Uniquely Suwanee People experiencing city events, volunteering, and enjoying themselves.
My View Images illustrating your favorite Suwanee view or perspective
Active Suwanee Snapshots from exploring Suwanee trails and parks
Oops I Arted Photos of Public Art
Suwanee-hee-hee! Humorous/novelty shots
#TBT Historical photos from Suwanee days gone by

An overall Judges' Choice winner will also be named. Winning photographs will be exhibited for an approximately one-year period at City Hall beginning in March. Visit Suwanee.com for more information and an entry form.

November 7, 2017

City of Suwanee Election Results

Suwanee voters have re-elected Linnea Miller, Beth Hilscher, and Dan Foster to serve another four-year term on the Suwanee City Council.

Below are the uncertified election results for Suwanee:

City Council Post 3  
Linnea Miller (incumbent) 590 (approximately 75 percent)
Paquita V. Wright 192
City Council Post 4  
Joe Briggs Withdrew
Beth Hilscher (incumbent) 645
City Council Post 5  
Dan Foster (incumbent) 538 (approximately 70 percent)
John Kantor 231

October 30, 2017

City Now Accepting Applications for 2018 Event Calendar

The City of Suwanee is currently accepting event applications for community events to be hosted at City of Suwanee parks during 2018. The deadline for applications is November 30. Once the City's event schedule is approved after the first of the year, no additional events may be added.

Each year, the City of Suwanee hosts – primarily at Town Center Park – more than 40 city and privately planned events, including concerts, festivals, races, food truck events, and more.

"Events are an important part of community-building in Suwanee," said Events & Outreach Manager Amy Doherty. "Each year, we love partnering with community organizations to bring great music, fun events, and unique engagement opportunities to our residents and others."

Applications and guidelines are available on the What's New/Events page. Application submission does not constitute event approval.

October 24, 2107

Trek or Treat
(Smell my feet, give me something good to eat!)

Summer may be (finally) over, but the City of Suwanee's event calendar is heating up! Perhaps the most beloved event of the year with the younger segment of our population is Trek or Treat. All the little princesses, monsters, super heroes, and witches will have the opportunity to do a costume test run at the annual favorite on Saturday, October 28 from 1-3 pm at Sims Lake Park.

The event, designed for children ten and younger, includes fall festival-style games, music, contests, and inflatables. Costumes aren't required, but strongly encouraged. Parker the Dog will, of course, be there in costume. We've even added a professional pumpkin carver, who will demonstrate his skills at the event!

For more information regarding Suwanee's Trek or Treat Halloween event, please contact Events & Outreach Manager Amy Doherty at adoherty@suwanee.com or 770-904-3387.

October 16, 2017

Nourishment for the Mind, Body, & Soul
City of Suwanee Announces Grand Opening of the Orchard at White Street Park

The City of Suwanee is proud to announce the grand opening celebration of the first public orchard and playground in the Southeast: The Orchard at White Street Park. A true celebration of hard work, the grand opening event on October 22 from 2-4:00 p.m. will feature a ribbon cutting, guided tours, activities for kids and adults, prizes and giveaways, the unveiling of donation plaques, and more.

The Orchard at White Street Park is a fully functional orchard that will be open to the community. Designed to provide families with a fun and engaging space that changes through the seasons, encourages creative and self-guided outdoor play, and grows fresh fruit, the Orchard also includes lawn areas for relaxation and play, a pavilion, winding pathways, and natural children's play features throughout the one-acre site.

"The orchard was designed to incorporate fruiting plants, winding paths, lawns, and natural play features. It will be a unique and exceptional space for discovery and exploration and offer hands-on learning opportunities with a wide variety of fruiting plants," said Harvest Farm board member and orchard landscape architect Roger Grant. "The park will be open to the public and people of all ages are encouraged to observe and enjoy the fruits of our labor. It will be maintained using organic pest control methods, meaning the fruit may not all look like what we see at the grocery store, but patrons will get an authentic and safe experience."

DATE Sunday, October 22, 2017
TIME 2:00-4:00 p.m.
LOCATION White Street Park
752 White Street  Suwanee, GA 30024
ONSITE CITY CONTACT Jessica Roth – City of Suwanee Business Services Director

September 20, 2017

Applications are Now Being Accepted for the 2018 Harvest Farm Season

Registration is now open for the 2018 season at Harvest Farm, Georgia's largest organic community garden. Located in the City of Suwanee's White Street Park, Harvest Farm offers 76 plots that can be rented on an annual basis to grow veggies, fruits, flowers, and herbs.

Plots are available in three different sizes:

  • Small plots (approximately 5'x 5') – $50 per year
  • Medium plots (approximately 5'x 9′) – $75 per year
  • Large plots (approximately 5'x 12′) – $100 per year

+ An annual $15 registration fee

Annual fees include use of a raised bed, utilities, basic community tools, social and educational events, and compost (when available). Gardeners will incur personal expenses for seeds, plants, amendments, stakes, trellises, etc.

Plots are assigned on a first-come first-served basis with priority given to City residents/property owners/taxpayers. City of Suwanee residents/taxpayers also receive a 25 percent discount on registration fees. Since the success of the garden depends upon the support of its gardeners, each plot member is required to contribute 12 hours of volunteer service a year.

Applications can be submitted online at harvestfarmsuwanee.com. The 2018 season will open January 1 and run through December 31, 2018.

September 16, 2017

Suwanee Fest is This Weekend!
Annual Event to Celebrate Suwanee's 'Community at Work'

It's tremendously fitting that the designer of the Suwanee Fest: Community at Work logo should just happen to also be an architect.

"This year's theme made me relate community unification to a building construction process," said winning designer Jacob Miramontes. "Like a building, a community needs to be based on a strong foundation and be raised with all of its elements working together. The smallest element is as important as the largest, and each particular difference is what makes structures and communities solid and unwavering."

The community festival – named Best Festival in 2015 by the Southeast Festival and Events Association – kicks off at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 16 with a parade, led by a former UGA and NFL linebacker Randall Godfrey. The approximately one-mile parade travels up Main Street to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and then down Buford Highway to Town Center Park, where over 200 arts and crafts exhibitors and food vendors will be set up through Sunday evening.

Topgolf has taken over the Man Tent this year, and visitors can expect the usual big screen TVs showing the day's biggest games, plus opportunities to win prizes playing games such as Topgolf's World Golf Tour, the Topgolf Toss, and the Topgolf "Top That!" Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Topgolf Las Vegas!

Be sure to bring the kids out Sunday only to meet the stars of this summer's highly anticipated threequel, Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater! Young fans can come meet their heroes and take photos with the Disney celebrities. The family fun zone will feature plenty of complimentary activities for elementary school-aged children, an array of entertainers, activities, and ticketed rides and games.

The Town Center Park stage will be packed with entertainment from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, and noon until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday's headliner – the ultimate 80s experience, The Molly Ringwalds – takes the stage at 5:30 p.m.
Off-site parking for the festival and free shuttle service will be provided from:

Shadowbrook Baptist Church
4187 Suwanee Dam Road  (**Handicap accessible shuttles available at this site)
Shawnee North Business Center
305 Shawnee North Drive (at Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road)
Southeastern Freight
3655 Windsor Park Drive
(Enter from Buford Highway only)

Festival hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 12-5 p.m. Sunday. Find more information, plus an interactive map, at suwaneefest.com.

September 6, 2017

Suwanee Fest Classic 5K/10K to Be Run September 9

Always wondered what your 5K time would be running in work boots? Consider a yellow safety vest to be a pretty good idea for road runs? Looking to wear that Village People Halloween costume again? Join us on Saturday, September 9 for the 17th annual 'Community at Work' Suwanee Fest Classic! This year's construction-themed event doesn't require a costume – but we're pretty sure running 5-10 kilometers would be a lot more fun whilst wearing one.

Last year, more than 900 runners participated in the yearly Suwanee Fest 5K, 10K, and children's one-mile fun run. Registration is now available at active.com. Participants will receive a finisher's medal and race shirt. Prizes will be awarded for overall winners. Early packet pick-up will be available from 9 am–5 p.m. on September 7 and 8 at Suwanee City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue. Race day registration and packet pick-up will begin at 6:30 a.m. at Town Center Park. All races begin and finish at Town Center Park.

August 29, 2017

Suwanee HOPE Court Named State Program of the Year

The Georgia Municipal Court Clerks' Council recognized Suwanee Municipal Court with the distinguished Program of the Year award for Suwanee's HOPE Court. The Program of the Year award honors municipal courts throughout the state of Georgia that are making a difference. The awards committee selected Suwanee's HOPE Court for its efforts in educating first-time youth offenders and providing them a second chance at maintaining their driving privileges.

In 2015, a Georgia law was changed to allow offenders under the age of 17 to potentially appear in front of a jury, rather than a judge in a municipal court, as the law stated prior. Suwanee Chief Judge Norman Cuadra thought that this type of trial would be detrimental to a youth with a minor violation, and began creating a way to retain jurisdiction over these cases – and the City of Suwanee's HOPE Court was born.

"It's doesn't take much for a young driver to have his license suspended," said Judge Cuadra. "We want to help these kids who have made mistakes – like most teenagers do – and not have them face potentially life-altering consequences on a first-time minor offense."

The first of its kind in Gwinnett County, HOPE Court provides a second chance for first-time offenders under the age of 21 who have committed lesser crimes such as speeding, texting while driving, open container, shoplifting, and drugs. These youths can plead guilty and receive a modified sentence – usually a small fine, community service, and/or attending the Teen Victim Impact Panel class at the Gwinnett County court – and have the incident wiped from their records. To date, the HOPE Court has had over 757 successful participants.

"We wanted an opportunity to educate these teenagers, and hopefully not see them again," said Judge Cuadra. "Instead of suspending their licenses or driving their parents' insurance up with points, HOPE Court offers the chance to impact their lives and have greater consequences in the long run."

August 4, 2017

Suwanee's Proposed Millage Rate to Remain at 4.93

The City of Suwanee has proposed a millage rate of 4.93 mills, the same proposed rate used in the proposed FY 2018 budget and the same rate used by the City over the past four years.

This proposed millage rate of 4.93 is higher than the calculated rollback rate of 4.697 mills.  The rollback rate is the rate that would generate the same total revenue as the previous year after removing growth added due to re-assessments.

City Council is expected to adopt a fiscal year 2018 millage rate at its August 22 meeting.  Because the proposed rate is anticipated to generate a 4.96 percent increase in property tax revenues, due to growth from property value re-assessments, the City will hold three public hearings at City Hall on August 10 at 5:50 pm and August 22 at 12:00 pm and 6:30 pm before adopting the millage rate.

The proposed 4.93 millage rate will result in a property tax increase of 4.96 percent.  The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $275,000 is approximately $25.63 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $550,000 is approximately $51.26.

The City of Suwanee began the new fiscal year July 1 with a $12.9 million balanced operating budget. This year's budget represents a 4.2 percent increase over the $12.4 million adopted budget for the recently ended 2017 fiscal year.

Suwanee's $12,926,090 FY2018 budget includes:

  • 100 full time and 16 part-time positions, including one new position and two position upgrades
  • $66,000 for continued funding for the major comprehensive master plan (second year of plan)
  • $55,000 for the Suwanee.com website overhaul
  • $25,000 for a fundraising feasibility study

For more information regarding the City of Suwanee's FY2018 budget, please visit Suwanee.com and click on the Open Budget icon at the bottom right side of the page.

June 28, 2017

Suwanee Breaks Ground Expanding Its Town Center

The City of Suwanee Downtown Development Authority, along with developer Terwilliger Pappas and Carlyle Realty Partners, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, June 27 for Solis Town Center, a 240-unit mixed-use apartment development situated adjacent to Suwanee Town Center. Set on six acres, the property will also feature 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 71 for-sale townhouses, and a parking garage around which the mixed-use structure will be built.

Previous city master plans – dating back to the 2002 Old Town Master Plan and through the 2015 Downtown Suwanee Master Plan Update created a vision for this property, which will have a similar look and feel to the current Town Center area. The project also addresses several goals in the 20/20 Vision strategic plan, including extending Town Center, ensuring lifetime housing, and promoting a mixture of housing types.

"We have a proven track record with Town Center of master planning our vision and then working with the private sector to implement that vision," says Allen. "People are always asking when we're going to extend Town Center. We're confident that this project will add depth and energy that not only physically extends Town Center but also further enhances the experience."

The City of Suwanee opportunistically purchased of the underdeveloped partial adjacent to Town Center to be held for future growth. The elements of design, connectivity, community, and sense of place will extend down a pedestrian-friendly Buford Highway, setting the stage as to what is expected of future development for the updated Buford Highway corridor.

"In many significant ways, this project is a prime example of the forethought it takes to create a truly impactful and visionary project," said Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette. "The city has deployed multiple planning efforts, including several opportunities for public input, to arrive at the product we're breaking ground on today."

"I'm proud to break ground on this project as it represents another step our community is taking toward further realizing its vision of having a vibrant, connected, and pedestrian-oriented downtown with a clear sense of place."

June 27, 2017

City of Suwanee Issues Approximately $21.4 Million in Bonds for Urban Redevelopment Projects

On Tuesday, June 26, 2017, the City of Suwanee's Urban Redevelopment Agency issued approximately $21.4 million in bonds at an all-in true 3.31 percent interest rate for urban redevelopment projects such as parks, transportation, and administrative facilities. The primary project associated with these bonds will be the development of a large, 25-acre extension of Town Center Park.

The City of Suwanee recently received a AAA long-term bond rating from Standard & Poor's Global Ratings, allowing the city to undertake a series of planned projects sooner, rather than later. The city is leveraging an excellent bond rating while rates are at near-historic lows to begin projects, rather than wait for construction costs to escalate.

"With this AAA rating and bond issuance, we are able to access capital while also enjoying low interest rates," said Suwanee City Manager Marty Allen. "We are leveraging the recently-approved SPLOST money we will receive over the next six years to implement long-standing projects that we are ready to begin today."

Due to the structure of the bond, the city does not anticipate a property tax or mileage rate increase in relation to the issuance of these bonds.

"Construction rates are currently rising faster than interest rates. It just makes sense," said Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette.

The series 2017 bond proceeds will finance the costs associated with projects identified in the 2017 Urban Redevelopment Plan Update, including public parks and quality-of-life amenities and transportation improvements made to Town Center.

"The community wants more of Town Center Park; we're developing ways to make that happen," Brunette said.

For more information, please contact Suwanee Finance Director Amie Sakmar at 770-904-2797 or asakmar@suwanee.com.

June 9, 2017

City of Suwanee Receives AAA Bond Rating from S&P

The City of Suwanee has received a AAA long-term bond rating from Standard & Poor's (S&P) Global Ratings with a stable outlook.  AAA bond rating is the highest rating attainable. 

According to S&P, the AAA rating reflects their opinion of the city's:

  • Very strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area (MSA);
  • Very strong management, with strong financial policies and practices under our Financial Management Assessment (FMA) methodology;
  • Very strong budgetary performance, with operating surpluses in the general fund and at the total governmental fund level in fiscal 2016;
  • Very strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance in fiscal 2016 of 36% of operating expenditures;
  • Very strong liquidity, with total government available cash at 130.1% of total governmental fund expenditures and 11.8x governmental debt service, and access to external liquidity we consider strong;
  • Very weak debt and contingent liability position, with debt service carrying charges at 11.0% of expenditures and net direct debt that is 186.2% of total governmental fund revenue; and
  • Very strong institutional framework score.

The series 2017 revenue bonds would be secured by contract payments made by Suwanee to the agency pursuant to an intergovernmental contract under which the city has agreed to make payments to the agency in amounts sufficient to pay principal and interest on the bonds.

The city is in the process of issuing approximately $22 million in revenue bonds with the city's Urban Redevelopment Agency that will finance the costs associated with redevelopment projects identified in the 2017 Urban Redevelopment Plan Update, including public parks and quality-of-life amenities and transportation improvements.

The city previously received a AAA bond rating from S&P Global Ratings in 2014.

May 23, 2017

Suwanee Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend with Annual Red, White, Bluegrass & Bach Event

Suwanee's annual concert kick-off to the Memorial Weekend will feature bluegrass and classical performances, a musical salute to the troops, and the Silver Wings parachute team "dropping in" for a visit.

The Red, White, Bluegrass & Bach concert will kick off the Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 26, at Town Center Park. All eyes will be to the sky at 7:00 p.m. as the Fort Benning Silver Wings parachute into Town Center (weather permitting).

The National Anthem will be performed at 7:15 p.m., followed by a classical performance by the Main Street Symphony – an adult amateur orchestra associated with Huthmakers Violins. This string orchestra is open to amateur string players who love music and love making music. There is no audition process – musicians are simply encouraged to attend rehearsals and join the fun.

At 8:30 p.m., bluegrass band Volume Five will take the stage. While Volume Five is a traditional band, their soulful singing, dead-on harmonies, and precision picking set them apart from other bands of this style. Playing with such well known acts as Marty Raybon and Full Circle, The Roys, Bradley Walker, Mountain Heart, and many others has helped each member of Volume Five hone his craft to perfection, while at the same time given each member the stage experience needed to entertain just about any crowd.

For more information regarding Suwanee's Red, White, Bluegrass & Bach event, please contact Events Manager Amy Doherty at 770-904-3387 or adoherty@suwanee.com.

May 16, 2017

Nourishment for the Mind, Body, & Soul
The Orchard at White Street Park Nears Completion

The City of Suwanee and Harvest Farm have collaborated to develop the first public orchard and playground in the Southeast. Featuring a fully functional orchard that will be open to the community, the Orchard at White Street Park was designed to provide families with a fun and engaging space that changes through the seasons, encourages creative and self-guided outdoor play, and grows fresh fruit.

In addition to trees yielding fruit, the Orchard at White Street Park also includes lawn areas for relaxation and play, a pavilion, winding pathways, and natural children's play features throughout the one-acre site.

"The orchard was designed to incorporate fruiting plants, winding paths, lawns, and natural play features. It will be a unique and exceptional space for discovery and exploration and offer hands-on learning opportunities with a wide variety of fruiting plants," said Harvest Farm board member and orchard landscape architect Roger Grant. "The park will be open to the public and people of all ages are encouraged to observe and enjoy the fruits of our labor. It will be maintained using organic pest control methods, meaning the fruit may not all look like what we see at the grocery store, but patrons will get an authentic and safe experience."

The orchard will serve as the perfect complement to Harvest Farm, Suwanee's award-winning community garden, which is also located at White Street Park. Opened in 2010, Harvest Farm was the first community garden in Gwinnett County and remains one of the largest organic community gardens in the southeastern United States. 

While the space itself is already open to the public, the orchard will continue to be planted over the next few months, largely by community volunteers. The first community planting is scheduled for Saturday, May 20, from 9 am-3 pm. Visit Suwanee.com for more information about the Orchard at White Street Park, volunteering, or making a donation.

"We're excited to keep building on the success and momentum of the garden by expanding into White Street Park with this orchard," said Grant.  "While the City has provided a solid foundation, the ultimate success of the orchard lies with our citizens – we need the community's support in our effort to raise money to purchase orchard plantings."

"With your help, we will make a lasting impact in the lives of our neighbors and families by creating a special and unique space for all of Suwanee."

May 11, 2017

"You Love Us, You Really Love Us!"
City of Suwanee Wins IMPACT Regional Business Award in the Category of Hospitality

On Wednesday, May 10, the Gwinnett Chamber recognized the City of Suwanee as the leading organization in the Hospitality Category at the IMPACT Regional Business Awards, presented by Contemporary Marketing Group.

"The city works hard to plan quality events that people want to attend, as well as work closely with those who choose to host events here. It's our attention to detail that vendors, organizers and attendees have come to expect in events held in Suwanee," said Events & Outreach Manager Amy Doherty. "To be recognized by the chamber for the impact our events have on hospitality is truly an honor. Our events have grown over the years and to know we bring so many people to our great city is just amazing!"

Held at the Infinite Energy Forum, the IMPACT Regional Business Awards pays tribute to premier organizations in top industries that are driving economic development and job creation, while enhancing our quality of life. From more than 500 nominations, 125 finalist companies, across nine industry categories were recognized.

"The winners of the IMPACT Awards represent the creativity, determination, and engagement of our business community," said Dr. Dan Kaufman, president & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. "These risk-takers and innovators are the ones laying the foundation for a bright future of opportunity that we all enjoy."

For more information, visit IMPACTBusinessAwards.com.

May 9, 2017

Sip & See Suwanee's Newest Pieces of Art at the May 20 Event

Twenty or so prominent new residents have moved into Suwanee! The fifth installment of the city's popular SculpTour temporary sculpture exhibition was installed in early May. The 2017-19 exhibit will officially kick off at the SculpTour Sip & See event on May 20 from 5:30-9:30 pm at Town Center Park. This new event will include guided wine tours of the art and an opportunity to meet some of the featured artists and discuss their work, as well as a performance of Memphis by the Aurora Theatre on the Town Center stage.

Over the past dozen years or so, the City of Suwanee has undertaken initiatives to transform Suwanee into a distinctive, desirable place to live. Cities have long considered public art a key component of a vibrant community — an essential element of placemaking and city design, a tool for promoting community connectedness and economic development, and a means of providing people with experiences.

Suwanee launched its public art initiative in 2008 with the formation of the City Council-appointed Public Arts Commission (PAC), established to create programs that bring and promote public art in Suwanee, and to work with and encourage developers to use one percent of construction costs to include public art or support public art as a component of new projects. Three years later, the first SculpTour was launched.

Since 2011, the award-winning SculpTour program has brought 79 sculptures to a walkable one-mile area of downtown Suwanee, not to mention the 11 pieces in the city's permanent collection. With goals to enliven Town Center, attract visitors, and stimulate interest in Suwanee's public art program, SculpTour adds to the sense of dynamism, energy, rhythm, and ritual in the city.

May 8, 2017

Suwanee Farmers Market Opens May 13

The season of fresh produce, lovely flowers, and yummy baked goods returns to Suwanee when the City's Farmers Market opens at Town Center Park Saturday, May 13. The market is open 8 am-noon Saturdays through September 30.

"The Suwanee Farmers Market has a loyal customer and farmer base," notes Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Our market is almost as much a social event as it is an opportunity to access locally grown produce and a variety of other items, such as salsa, honey, eggs and meat, seafood, and baked goods."

April 19, 2017

Art on a Limb Returns to Suwanee

Spring has sprung in Suwanee, and with the blooming of the dogwoods comes another annual tradition in our parks: Art on a Limb! Through the Art on a Limb program, the City of Suwanee hides two pieces of art along one of the greenways or within city parks each day throughout the month of May. Those who find the art pieces get to keep them!

This year's Art on a Limb artist is a community favorite, as well as a previous program participant: Potter Richard Shivers – also known as "Mr. Shivers the Music Teacher" to 35 years' worth of Riverside Elementary alumni.

"Knowing the project would be displayed in the parks, I designed a pottery piece of a tree leaf," said Shivers. "We stroll, play, exercise, and gather at the beautiful parks in our town and nature is an important part of our community."

Shivers also created the green ceramic frog bowls with leafy tree branches that served as the 2014 Art on a Limb offering.

"Art on a Limb was a ten-year-old program at the time, and we wondered if it had reached the end of its lifespan," said Doherty. "I credit Mr. Shivers for breathing new life into an old program! People were so excited to search for art created by a well-known community member, especially former students."

Pottery was one of those things Shivers had always wanted to do "one day." After retirement and five years learning from "some of the best pottery teachers in the Atlanta area" at the Hudgens Center for the Arts, he decided to get serious about his hobby and opened his home studio, Measure of Clay.

"Having an art piece to take home from the park is a great acknowledgement of the importance of art, as well as a wonderful gift from the city to its people," said Shivers. "To have art in front of people all the time – that's a wonderful thing."

Artist's Statement

Richard Shivers

"Each leaf has a heart-shape cut out in the center of the piece to represent the Suwanee community we love. The piece is made from a special clay called "Peach" to correlate with Georgia being the Peach State. The pattern on each leaf is an abstract swirling circle to compliment the Suwanee logo circles and the colors chosen for the project were taken from the colors of the Suwanee logo: bright yellow, lime, blue, red, beige, purple, orange, gold, green, and pink. Each leaf has an additional pottery piece with an "S" stamped into the clay plus "Suwanee" is impressed on the back of each leaf. Beads of various sizes were added to the piece, again with chosen colors from the Suwanee logo to decorate each piece and give it "artsy" touch, which also supports the confirmation that this is an art community. The result is each leaf is different, but yet the same in some way just like a community."

– Artist Richard Shivers

April 11, 2017

Get Lit in Suwanee!
Glow in the Park Community Lantern Parade Debuts

On Saturday, April 15 at 5:30 pm, the City of Suwanee invites everyone to get lit in Town Center at the community lantern parade! Inspired by the Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade, Suwanee's Glow in the Park will feature a strolling jazz band leading an illuminated pageant of light, music, and color through Old Town and down the Brushy Creek Trail, ending at Town Center Park with a concert starring 80s cover band Electric Avenue.

"This event is a community celebration of creativity; everyone is strongly encouraged to create illuminated costumes and carry their pre-made lanterns to parade together," said Amy Doherty, Events & Outreach Manager for the City of Suwanee. "This electrical spectacle is family and pet friendly, so everyone can join in."

Food and fun begins at 5:00 p.m.; the lantern parade begins at Town Center Park at 7:30 p.m., winding down the Brushy Creek Trail and ending back at the Town Center stage for an Electric Avenue concert at 8:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the best glow looks and costumes.

We'll see you (because you'll be all lit up) on April 15 at Glow in the Park!

Glow in the Park FAQs – Shedding a little light on your burning questions.

Do I need a lantern to walk in the parade?
Yes, you do. That's kinda what we mean by "lantern parade"….

What exactly do you mean by "lantern"?
A simple, decorated, orb-on-a-stick lit with battery-operated LEDs (no live flames permitted!). The lanterns are carried, not released.

Can I set off flying lanterns, like from Tangled?!
No. They are not permitted and they set fires as they fall back to earth as flaming litter.

My dog would like to attend, even though he doesn't light up.
Dogs, kids, strollers, and wagons are all welcome in the parade (lit or otherwise) (lit would be way cooler though).

What is the cost of the event? Do I need a ticket?
Completely free, concert included! No registration or sign up necessary – just show and glow!

What if I just want to watch the parade?
Every parade needs spectators! Visit glowinthepark.Suwanee.com for a parade map.

Can I fly my drone?

What if I trick my drone out with lights?
Still no.

March 21, 2017

Don't Miss the Deadline to be Part of Suwanee Fest 2017!

The deadline to apply to be part of this year's award-winning Suwanee Fest is quickly approaching. Exhibitor and entertainment applications for the September 16 & 17 festival are due March 31. Artists, crafters, entertainers, and food vendors may apply online at suwaneefest.com.

"Business has been amazing," said Marissa Hudson Loose, a pottery exhibitor, of the festival. "Amazing traffic and consistent buyers. I love the number of attendees and the percentage who are buyers."

Suwanee Fest, which brings approximately 50,000 people to Suwanee's Town Center Park each year, is a past Southeast Festivals & Events Association 'Best Festival' winner. The annual "celebration of community" includes arts and crafts exhibitors, a variety of delicious foods, eclectic on-stage entertainment, a parade, and children's rides and activities.

March 20, 2017

Have You HERD?

The votes are in, and the 2015-17 Suwanee SculpTour People's Choice winner is…The Herd by Phil Proctor! The Suwanee Public Arts Commission, using donated funds, will purchase the eight charming goats that reside in the cemetery at the corner of Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, making them the newest additions to Suwanee's permanent art collection.

Fabricated out of steel and weighing about 100 pounds each, Atlanta artist Proctor says that The Herd symbolizes the concept of awareness. All of the goats – save one – have their faces to the ground, seeing only what is in front of their noses. One goat raises his head to experience the beauty of his surroundings.

"All too often we find ourselves immersed in work, worry, or just the everyday tasks of life and our awareness of self and our place becomes clouded," said Proctor. "The Herd is a reminder to look up and remember what's really important."

The 2015-17 Suwanee SculpTour exhibit will coming down at the end of March, with the new pieces being installed in early May. The 2017-19 exhibit, which will feature 20 pieces of art in and around Town Center, will officially kick off at the SculpTour Sip & See event on May 20. This new event will include guided wine tours of the art and an opportunity to meet some of the featured artists and discuss their work, as well as a performance of Memphis by the Aurora Theatre on the Town Center stage.

The Herd isn't the only sculpture being given an extended stay – fan favorites Dancer XX and Friends have been retained for a second round of SculpTour. The artists of these two pieces – Jack Howard-Potter and Nnamdi Okonkwo, respectively – were selected as prize winners by the Public Art Commission, along with:

Jonanthan Bowling - Corey
Andrew T. Crawford – Sunflower Gate
Benson Sculpture – Love Hurts
Hanna Jubran – The Three Muses

The public art encounter has brought a total of 79 sculptures to a walkable one-mile area of downtown Suwanee during its past four installations, as well as 14 permanent pieces owned by the City and artworks that have been purchased privately through the City's voluntary one-percent-of-construction-costs-for-developers program.

February 28, 2017

City of Suwanee Names its 2017 Suwanee Youth Leaders Class

The City of Suwanee has named the members of its fourth Suwanee Youth Leaders (SYL) Class for the year 2017. These students were chosen based on a combination of the strength of application, feedback from a student-led selection committee made up of recent SYL graduates, recommendations from teachers and school administrators, academic performance, and extracurricular resume. 

SYL is an eight-month leadership program for high school sophomores and juniors who attend public, private, or home-based schools and live within the North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge, or Collins Hills cluster districts. The program centers on civic involvement, leadership skills, and volunteer opportunities. SYL develops young leaders through structured monthly educational programs and teambuilding activities. Participants gain genuine exposure to local initiatives and community and civic leaders, while also allowing the City to engage with youth providing a strong voice and active role in planning the City's success. Meetings, led by local leaders, include subjects such as leadership principles and practices, ethics in society, law and justice, and community involvement. The program culminates with hands-on service opportunities at Suwanee Fest, serving alongside adult volunteers from the community.

The SYL Class of 2016 recently won a Southeast Festivals and Events Association Bronze Kaleidoscope Award for Most Creative Idea for collaboration between the Suwanee Youth Leaders and Suwanee Fest transportation. SYL also won an Atlanta Regional Commission 2016 CREATE Community Award in the category of Educational Excellence.

"The Suwanee Youth Leaders program allows the City to make a genuine commitment to the youth in our community," said Suwanee Downtown Business & Development Manager Adam Edge, a co-leader of the program. "While it's an honor to win a CREATE Community Award, it's an even greater reward to see kids becoming invested in their community through this initiative."

Thanks to SYL, said Assistant City Manager Denise Brinson, "We now have a group of young people who have more knowledge of their community and how local government works and the work that goes into building community. The City wanted to develop a real connection with our schools and find a way to meaningfully encourage youth involvement as prescribed in our strategic plan – not just checking a box, but building sincere, authentic relationships."

Congratulations to the Suwanee Youth Leaders Class of 2017:

Collins Hill High School
Eyoel Binyam
Lea Dulcio
Ayden Endberg
Kwame Gaba
Michael Hall
Nicholas Ives
Tierra Lindley
Sadie Maxwell
Hanna-Karina Mueller
Debora Munoz
Katherine Rhodes
Donovan Richart
Juan Rivas
Elliott Veal, Jr.
Andrew Winton
North Gwinnett High School
Jack Beasley
Prashasti Borikar
Grey Brinson
Judith Chang
Ram Chatoth
Harrison Craft
Ami Dave
Cathryn Davis
Eric Delgado
Beckley Froebel
Aryan Gupta
Grant Kersey
Malcolm Hutchinson
Riana Kim
Kipling Len
Anna Masino
Wesley Miller
Olivia Packer
Rohan Patel
Adrian Tate
Jannie Yang
Lillian Zhang
Peachtree Ridge High School
Mia Bouchelle
Megan Brown
Sean Shen
Alyssa Dula
Kyran Hainje
Abby Le
Edwin Jang
Jin Jeon
Sunmin Kim
Daniel Ko
Holly Langenderfer
Jessie Lowe
Leonardo Maduro-Salvarrey
Mclane Murphy
Anjali Natvar
Cameron Palmer
Zarah Punjwani
Grant Seroyer
Kathy Shen
Amber Shillow
Hassan Siddiqui
Eunji Yoo
Gwinnett School of Math, Science, & Technology
Lama Zaabab
Home School
Ella Austin

February 22, 2017

City of Suwanee Public Art Fundraiser Event Brings Home the Hardware

The City of Suwanee's public art fund- and awareness-raising event, Guess Who's Coming to Cocktails, was honored with multiple Kaleidoscope Awards at the Southeast Festivals and Events Association's (SFEA) Annual Conference in Lexington, KY on February 21, 2017.

The giant cocktail party at Suwanee City Hall won the silver prize for Best New Event, a silver for Best Event Video, and a bronze award for Best Print Ad. The city also won a bronze award for Most Creative Idea for its collaboration with the Suwanee Youth Leaders and Suwanee Fest transportation.

Designed to recognize the marketing, programming, and overall event, the SFEA Kaleidoscope Awards acknowledge the highest level of achievement in the festival and event industry throughout the southeast United States. This year, 22 organizations submitted 119 entries for the top prizes.

"The quality of submissions continues to increase each year, making it more difficult for the judges to select the winners," noted Brenda Pierce, executive director of the Southeast Festivals and Events Association. 

The Southeast Festivals & Events Association is a membership based organization comprised of festival and event planners, venues, and industry service providers. A panel of experts in event planning, marketing, and tourism review entries from states across the southeast. Judging is based on originality, creativity, media impact, volunteer programs, and the overall impact to the community.

"I'm so proud of our staff and volunteers for continuing to make our events award- winning memory makers for those that attend," said Suwanee Events & Outreach Manager Amy Doherty.

February 16, 2017

Cool Running
County's First Marathon to Be Run in Suwanee on February 26

The City of Suwanee is teaming up with Georgia Fitness to host the inaugural Suwanee Marathon – Gwinnett County's first ever full marathon – in tandem with the 3rd annual Suwanee Half Marathon on Sunday, February 26.

Both races will begin at 7:00 a.m. at Town Center Park. From there, the Peachtree Road Race-certified, 13.1-mile course will meander through Old Town, along Eva Kennedy to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, to Tench Road and eventually George Pierce Park and the Suwanee Creek Greenway to McGinnis Ferry Road, up and back along Northolt, and back along the Greenway to the finish at City Hall. Marathon runners will complete the half marathon route twice.

"It takes some creative logistics to plan a 26.2-mile route in a nine-square-mile city," said Suwanee Events & Outreach Manager Amy Doherty. "We think it's a route so nice, you'll want to do it twice!"

This course has a great mix of flat and hills which will be fun for every type of runner. Finishers from each race will receive a medal and long-sleeved technical shirt, and a cash prize will be split between the top three male and female finishers from each race.

Those who want to participate in the inaugural Suwanee Marathon, but aren't into that whole running thing, are encouraged to join us as volunteers and course cheerleaders. The event will feature a sign-making and cowbell station, and event coordinators are looking for scout leaders/cheer mom/small group leaders/etc. to "own" their own cheer spot along the race course.

For more information, including route and registration details, visit georgiafitness.com/marathon. Interested volunteers can contact Amy Doherty at 770-904-3387 or adoherty@suwanee.com.

February 13, 2017

Suwanee is More EVENT-ful in 2017

The City of Suwanee has recently released its 2017 events calendar, featuring over 40 events, including 18 runs/walks and 11 brand new events!

On Saturday, April 15 at 5:30 pm, the City invites everyone to get lit in Town Center at the Glow in the Park community lantern parade! Inspired by the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade, Glow in the Park will feature a strolling jazz band leading an illuminated pageant of light, music, and color through Old Town and down the Brushy Creek Trail, ending at a concert starring 80s cover band Electric Avenue at Town Center Park.

"This event is a community celebration of creativity; everyone is strongly encouraged to create and carry their pre-made lanterns to parade together," said Amy Doherty, Events & Outreach Manager for the City of Suwanee. "This electrical spectacle is family and pet friendly, so everyone can join in."

Suwanee will kick off the new events with the first full marathon ever held in Gwinnett County – the Suwanee Marathon on February 26. Furry favorite Woofstock will return in an expanded form on Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7. The very popular Food Truck Fridays are back the first Friday of the month April-September, with the exception of July. Other returning favorites include:

Suwanee Beer Fest - March 18
Arts in the Park - May 13
August Concert & Wing Fest, featuring the Spin Doctors - August 12
Suwanee Fest - September 16-17
Food Truck Fridays – April 7, May 5, June 2, August 4, September 1
Movies Under the Stars (double features) – June 3, July 22, August 19
Farmers Market - Saturdays from May 13-September 20

The full calendar of new and returning events is available on the What's New/Events page at Suwanee.com. For more information on events at the City of Suwanee, contact Events & Outreach Manager Amy Doherty at 770-904-3387 or adoherty@suwanee.com.

February 8, 2017

Suwanee Fest: Under Construction

The City of Suwanee is looking for designers, artists, and creative people in general to submit logo designs for Suwanee Fest 2017. The designer of the winning logo will see his or her design on official festival t-shirts and marketing posters, as well as receive a $500 prize.

The theme for the 2017 festival, to be celebrated September 16 and 17, is…well…we're not entirely sure. We know we want it to center around construction: community at work, building the future, paving the way – you get the idea. But our creative team has hit a roadblock (get it?). So this year, the tagline is open to interpretation as well.

The competition is open to professional and amateur designers of all ages. Designs may be hand-drawn or computer-generated. Entries should be submitted in printed and electronic format. The deadline for submissions is April 1 (no fooling). See suwaneefest.com for additional guidelines and an entry form.