2014 News Releases

April 1, 2014


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. Guidelines and applications are available at suwaneefest.com. The deadline is June 1.

March 28, 2014

'Retrieval' to close 2013-14 indie film series

The final film in Suwanee's 2013-14 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is enjoying some buzz as it has been commercially released nationally. A Civil War-era coming-of-age story, The Retrieval will be shown in Suwanee Tuesday, April 8, at Movie Tavern.

The film follows a fatherless 13-year-old boy who is sent north by his bounty-hunter gang to trick a wanted freedman into coming back to the South. During their journey toward the unwitting man's reckoning, the initially distant pair develops unexpected bonds. The boy is consumed by conflicting emotions and a gut-wrenching decision: Betray the father-figure he's finally found or risk being killed by his gang for insubordination.

For his Retrieval portrayal of Nate, a freedman gravedigger for the Union Army, actor Tishuan Scott was recognized at the 2013 SXSW (South By Southwest) festival with Special Jury Recognition for Acting in a breakthrough performance.

Writing for Variety, Joe Leydon describes the film "as an outstanding example of regional indie filmmaking accomplished with limited resources and an abundance of skill."

Filmmaker Chris Eska studied sociology and art at Rice University before earning his master of fine arts degree in film directing from UCLA. His first feature film, August Evening, won the $50,000 Target Filmmaker Award as well as the 2008 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award.

Tickets are $6 and available at the theater or online at movietavern.com.  Attendees will have an opportunity to interact and ask questions of the filmmaker.

March 25, 2014


Food trucks are set to roll back in to Suwanee's Town Center beginning in April. On the first Friday of the month through October, except for July, a variety of vendors will offer food truck fare from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Live music will be performed on the Town Center stage beginning at 7:30.

On Friday, April 4, the tentative food truck line-up includes Champion Cheesesteak, The Fry Guy, Happy Belly, Ibiza, Mac the Cheese, Sweet Auburn's BBQ, Tracey's Treats, and Yumbii.  Different food trucks will be represented each month.

Bluegrass musicians from Everett's Music Barn, which is celebrating its 50th year, will perform April 4.

"Food Truck Fridays were among our most popular events last year," says Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Good food, good music, good fun – what's not to like? Food trucks offer an eclectic fare, and our line-up offers a variety sure to please even the pickiest palates."

March 20, 2014


Don't miss out on the super incredible fun when Suwanee hosts a high-energy, clue-sleuthing team race on Saturday, April 19. The deadline for teams to register online at suwanee.com is April 4.

Suwanee's Super Incredible Race is sort of like the Amazing Race meets small-town America. Teams race through downtown Suwanee, either by foot or on bike, solving clues and mastering mental and physical challenges. The race begins at Town Center Park at 3 p.m.  Participants should expect that they will walk (or run) or bike up to five miles; the race course will require one to three hours to complete.

The registration fee is $25 per two-person team plus $10 per additional participant for family teams. Download application forms at suwanee.com. All registrants will receive a 2014 Super Incredible Race dri-fit t-shirt.

Here's what you need to do to ensure a super incredible fun experience:

  • Recruit a team member for the two-person category or sign up your spouse, children, siblings, or grandparents for a family team.
  • Come up with a creative name for your team.
  • Think about what costumes you can wear to match your team theme/name.
  • Plan to bring a camera, smart phone or other means of Internet access, and one canned good per team member.

Prizes will be awarded to winning teams in pedestrian and bike categories as well as for best costume. No cars or other motorized vehicles are permitted.

Following the race, the City will host an incredibly fun spring concert at 7 p.m. with The Ultimate Eagles Tribute Band On the Border headlining. The concert is free and open to the public.

March 19, 2014


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."

March 17, 2014


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."

"This is great," says Suwanee resident Leo Lawrenson, who is a financial consultant to city and county governments across the country (but not to any in Georgia) through his Lawrenson Services firm. "A AAA rating says that the government entity's dependability for making payments on debt is high, that its revenues-to-debt ratio is good, that it's not in too much debt, and that the debt is being managed properly.

"People think that such ratings are simply an economic indicator," he adds. "It's more than that, it's a big part of quality of life in a city. How sound a city's fiscal policy is affects everything. It's an indication of how well-run the city is."

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.

March 11, 2014


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."

Winning photos and photographers include:

'Cowboy Dancers '
Alan Akins

'Around the Bend'
Kyle Breen

'Pump Up Suwanee'
Kyle Breen

'Sayonara Summer'
Autumn Crowley

'Millenials are the Image Nation'
Andrew Draper

Andrew Draper

'I've Got My Eyes on You'
Carla Hoff

Boo Kirsch Hynes

'Colorful Cultural Sounds'
Karl Lamb

'Quiet Time'
Karl Lamb

'Iron Angel'
Jammie Partee

'Monkey in the Middle'
Laura Shinliver

Terry Vegter

March 7, 2014


It's fitting that in March, which is National Kidney month, the next film in Suwanee's Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers features a kidney donor and recipient. Perfect Strangers, which explores what motivates donors to act with such compassion, will be screened at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at the Suwanee Movie Tavern, 2855 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

The $6 admission ticket also allows filmgoers to meet and interact with the filmmaker.

Perfect Strangers tells the story of two unique, engaging characters: Ellie is determined to give away one of her kidneys. Kathy, who lives 500 miles away, endures nightly dialysis and is losing hope of receiving a transplant. Both women face unexpected challenges as their parallel stories twist and turn over the course of four years.

Filmmaker Jan Krawitz has independently produced documentary films for 35 years, exhibiting at film festivals and museums throughout the United States and abroad. She is director of the graduate program in documentary film and video in the department of art and art history at Stanford University.

Tickets are available at the theater or online at movietavern.com.

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

February 25, 2014


On your mark, get ready, get set for some super incredible fun! The City of Suwanee will rev up its event season on Saturday, April 19, with a Super Incredible Day.

The really, really fun day will begin at 3 p.m. with Suwanee's Super Incredible Race, a high-energy, clue-sleuthing, team race featuring mental and physical challenges. Think Amazing Race meets small-town America. Following the race, the City will host an incredibly fun spring concert at 7 p.m. with Eagles tribute band On the Border headlining. The concert is free and open to the public.

Pre-registration for the race is required by April 4; sign up at suwanee.com. The registration fee is $25 per two-person team plus $10 per additional participant for family teams. All registrants will receive a 2014 Super Incredible Race dri-fit t-shirt.

The Super Incredible Race tasks team members with solving about a dozen clues that require them to race to locations throughout downtown Suwanee where they will complete a variety of challenges.

"It's a great way to exercise your mind and body while discovering places you never knew existed right in your own backyard," wrote two-time participant Donna Whalen in an email to the City after last year's race.

In addition to signing up by April 4 at suwanee.com, here's what you need to do to get in on the fun:

  • Recruit a team member for the two-person category or sign up your spouse, children, siblings, or grandparents for a family team.
  • Come up with a creative name for your team.
  • Think about what costumes you can wear to match your team theme/name.
  • Plan to bring a camera, smart phone or other means of Internet access, and one canned good per team member.

Prizes will be awarded to winning teams in pedestrian and bike categories as well as for best costume. No cars or other motorized vehicles are permitted. Participants should expect that they will walk (or run) or bike up to five miles. Completion of the race course is expected to take one to three hours.

February 11, 2014


Due to the likelihood of inclement weather, Suwanee City Hall and Suwanee Municipal Court will be closed tomorrow, February 12. Normal operations will continue through the remainder of today, and the City plans to re-open Thursday, February 13.

Municipal court cases scheduled for tomorrow will be continued (rescheduled) to Monday, February 24. The court will contact defendants via postal mail to reschedule. However, defendants whose address is incorrect on their citations, should email the court at court@suwanee.com to provide an accurate address and ensure that they receive the continuance notification.

For additional questions, please contact the court during regular business hours at 770/945-6962, select option #6.

February 10, 2014


Suwanee's 2013-14 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers returns over the next couple of months with three new screenings. Civil disobedience, the altruism behind voluntary organ donation, and a gut-wrenching decision are topics covered in the upcoming films, each of which will be screened at 7 p.m. on scheduled dates at Movie Tavern. The $6 ticket includes an opportunity to meet and interact with filmmakers.

Bidder 70, a film that looks at Tim DeChristopher's act of civil disobedience, will kick off the 2014 screenings on Monday, February 24. In 2008, DeChristopher, then a college student, bid $1.8 million for 22,000 acres surrounding Utah's national parks through a government oil and gas lease auction.  In protest of plans to drill on the land, DeChristopher had no intention of covering his bid.

A couple of months later, a new federal administration invalidated the auction because of the land's proximity to "landscapes of national significance," but DeChristopher still was indicted on two felonies and faced up to 10 years in prison.

Bidder 70 filmmakers George and Beth Gage create compelling, personal films that empower viewers, initiate dialogue, and prompt action on provocative issues. Their films have won dozens of awards at national and international film festivals.

Film tickets are $6 each and are available at Movie Tavern, 2855 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, or online at movietavern.com.

The two remaining films to be shown this spring are Perfect Strangers on March 18 and The Retrieval on April 8.

February 6, 2014


The season of fresh crops and locally produced honey, jams, salsas, baked goods, and more is nearing. And one of the best places to access all that good stuff is the Suwanee Farmers Market, which will return to Town Center on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings beginning in May.

Applications from those interested in selling their produce or other products at the market are now being accepted. The deadline for applications is Monday, March 24, and new vendors must attend the annual market meeting at 7 p.m. that evening at City Hall. Applications are available at suwanee.com.

In addition to produce, herbs, and flowers, other items that may be sold at the market include jams, jellies, cakes, cookies, breads, pies, and honey as well as appropriately licensed meat, dairy, and organic products; eggs; and plants. No re-selling is permitted; products sold at the Suwanee Farmers Market must be grown or made by the vendor. Arts and crafts are not permitted at the market.

"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."

The 2014 Suwanee Farmers Market opens Saturday, May 3. Saturday markets are from    8 a.m.-noon through October 4. Tuesday markets are from 4-7 p.m. through August 5.

February 4, 2014


Did you promise yourself to try something new, something different in 2014? Here's a great opportunity to do just that. The next session of Suwanee's Citizens Police Academy begins February 18. The once-weekly classes, often hands-on or scenario-based, will conclude April 15.

Through the Citizens Police Academy, participants gain a better understanding of police practices as well as the risks and responsibilities that officers face on a daily basis. Classes will generally be held from 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday evenings at the Police Training Center at 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Notarized applications are due Wednesday, February 12. Applicants must be at least 19 years old; those who live or work in the City of Suwanee receive priority placement. Applications are available at suwanee.com.

Topics covered include crime scene processing, traffic stops, building searches, crime prevention, credit card fraud, and narcotics identification.

The Suwanee Police Department hosts the academy at least once each year in order to build a productive partnership between officers and residents. This class will be the 25th offered since the program was begun in 2002.

January 30, 2014


Suwanee Municipal Court cases that were canceled January 29 due to the region's winter storm emergency have been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, February 17. All defendants whose cases were originally scheduled for January 29 should come to Suwanee Municipal Court, at 323 Buford Highway, on February 17. For more information or to request another date, contact the court at c@suwanee.com  or 770/945-6962 and select option #6.

January 25, 2014


Green is a really good color for the City of Suwanee. So says the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), which recertified Suwanee this week as a Green Community. Suwanee first earned certification as a Green Community in 2009.

In order to be certified by the ARC as a Green Community, the City had to earn a certain level of points for environmentally friendly policies and practices. Suwanee was certified at a bronze level.

"We view ourselves as a leader in smart growth in metro Atlanta," says Senior Planner Daniel Robinson. "We put a lot of value in open spaces and parks. The ARC green certification fits with our efforts to be environmentally conscious and friendly."

Since its first certification four years ago, Suwanee earned green points through several large initiatives, including obtaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for City Hall, reducing paper usage annually by some 30,000 sheets by transitioning to a paperless court and City Council, and saving nearly 50,000 miles over two years by fueling City vehicles at a local retailer rather than at a county facility in Buford.  Additional points were scored, Robinson notes, by having sidewalks and bike paths along many streets, recycling at City Hall, and installing bike racks at all City facilities.

January 14, 2014


The City of Suwanee is seeking proposals and samples from artists willing to go out on a limb to commemorate the 10th year of the City's finders-keepers, art-in-nature program.  Since 2005 through its Art on a Limb program, the City of Suwanee has hidden two pieces of original artwork daily throughout the month of May along the Suwanee Creek Greenway and at other parks.

Artistic proposals for this year's program will be accepted through February 24. Guidelines and an application are available at suwanee.com.

Art on a Limb is an award-winning, month-long program designed to celebrate and bring attention to the arts as well as the natural beauty of the Suwanee Creek Greenway and parks. Past Art on a Limb pieces have included clay birds and orbs, small paintings on canvas as well as pieces of the City's old water tower, magnets, gourds painted to look like birds, the Suwanee S shaped from metal, and pottery pieces that include leaves found along the Greenway.

January 3, 2014


Approximately 40 properties within a 67-acre area of Suwanee's historic Old Town district have now been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service approved the designation on December 24.

Suwanee's historic district is centered on Main Street, Stonecypher Road, Russell Street, and the railroad corridor. Contributing properties within the district will now be eligible for federal and state tax incentives for improvements that help preserve the property's historic value.

"This is undoubtedly a win for Suwanee," says City Councilmember Beth Hilscher, who is also a member of Suwanee's Downtown Development Authority, which nominated the area for inclusion in the National Register. "The registry designation is a step toward honoring Suwanee's heritage while providing tax incentives for those property owners willing to invest in the preservation of our historic properties.  While I am personally looking forward to seeing the progress that that will come about from renovations to Pierce's Corner, the district designation is great for other eligible property owners who may be able to avail themselves of the tax incentives."

According to a press release from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources: "National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants. Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property."

Suwanee's historic district was deemed important for its small, representative collection of commercial buildings commonly found in Georgia small towns and especially for its variety of residential types and styles popular from the 1870s to the 1950s, including shotgun houses, central hallway, New South cottage, gabled wing cottage, Queen Anne cottage, pyramidal cottage, Georgian cottage, American Small House, ranch house, and I-house.