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Column: Events to benefit, launch new Farm Chastain
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
October 17, 2012 03:44 PM | 3939 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist

Farm Chastain, a new community farm project at Chastain Park in Buckhead, has sparked a two-way collaboration to raise funds and interest in neighborhood volunteers growing organic produce and participating in interactive workshops while learning from each other and gardening experts. The site will be supported by the conservancy and the Southeastern Horticultural Society, with the groundbreaking for Farm Chastain scheduled for Saturday.

Cibo e Beve restaurant in Sandy Springs is joining the effort by hosting a fundraising food event Monday.

“When I found out that the Southeastern Horticultural Society was supporting a community garden in Chastain — less than a mile from our restaurant, I was excited to be a part of the process and incorporate fresh produce into my cooking and help teach the community how they can do the same,” said Executive Chef Linda Harrell, who has been a longstanding proponent of utilizing locally grown produce and herbs in her Italian cuisine.

The menu for the benefit dinner will showcase a variety of produce that will be grown at the farm as well as organic and locally raised meats provided by White Oak Pastures in Bluffton and Whole Foods Market in Buckhead. In addition, Georgia wineries will be on hand to pour their premiere selections.

The society and conservancy plan to create the community garden similar to the successful East Lake Community Learning Garden in DeKalb County that was established in July 2010.

The society is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting the knowledge, art and enjoyment of horticulture throughout the Southeast. Its community farm projects offer a safe, supportive environment for neighborhood residents to grow organic produce and participate in interactive outdoor classrooms for adults and children. The conservancy is a nonprofit devoted to preserving, maintaining and improving the park for future generations.

The Cibo e Beve event costs $75 per person, with all proceeds going to Farm Chastain. The groundbreaking is free to attend.

Tickets and information: (678) 640-9003 or visit and (information only).

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No matter what your skill level, you will have fun and be a “winner” at the Link Counseling Center’s annual Miracle Bowl evening Saturday in the upscale 300 Atlanta in DeKalb County. Guests will show off their bowling skills at the posh bowling lanes and try their luck at casino games as they support the Sandy Springs center’s programs to heal and rebuild lives of people of all ages.

Dinner, drinks and a silent auction will be other highlights of the casual fundraiser co-chaired by Meredith Bass and Don Leonard.

The nonprofit center has been serving the metro Atlanta community for 41 years. The Link is one of the oldest and most successful counseling centers in the Southeast with programs for children, youth and adults including: Pro bono mental health services, suicide prevention and aftercare, marriage and family therapy and the House Next Door for children in crisis and grief.

More than half the families served by the center live below the poverty level, yet no one is ever denied services based on inability to pay. The annual bowling party benefit is an important source of funding for local programs.

Tickets and information: (404) 256-9797, ext. 231 or visit

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“Run Like Hell and Run Like Heck” are the mantras for folks signed on to participate in the historic Oakland Cemetery’s autumn 5K and 1K races Saturday near Grant Park.

Started as a fundraiser following the 2008 Atlanta tornado that devastated the park-style Victorian-age cemetery near Grant Park, it is now one of the city’s most anticipated 5K runs. The race is capped at 1,700 runners and has been sold out every year. The unique cemetery-themed awards and the ghostly costume contest following the run add to the public festivities.

Activities for the cemetery and funds raised are administrated by the nonprofit volunteer Historic Oakland Foundation.

“Restoration and preservation have always been at the heart of our mission, but the greater purpose for our work is to share Oakland with the community and our visitors,” Executive Director David Moore said.

Founded in 1850, the cemetery is a hidden treasure located less than a mile from the heart of downtown Atlanta. It is the final resting place of many of Atlanta’s settlers, builders and most noted citizens like golf legend Bobby Jones, “Gone with the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell and former Atlanta mayors, including Maynard Jackson. The cemetery is also a showplace of sculpture and architecture and a botanical preserve with ancient oaks and magnolias.

All race registrants receive a T-shirt featuring the nationally recognized Run Like Hell and Run Like Heck logo.

Runners need to download a form to preregister online at or can register in person at the Phidippides running store at Ansley Mall near Midtown. Spectators will want to claim an early viewing spot.

Information: (404) 688-2107, ext. 15 or visit

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Four exceptional Steinway Society piano scholarship students will be presented at an open-to-the-public afternoon concert and reception Sunday at Peachtree Presbyterian Church’s Kellett Chapel in Buckhead.

Mary Hoffman, director of music at the church, hosts the use of the chapel and Steinway piano for the free concert to encourage community involvement in the society’s scholarship programs.

This year’s featured scholars are Kellie Richardson, Reinhardt University; Diane Turner, Shorter University; Lydia Nicholas, Berry College; and Joshua Martin, Kennesaw State University. Each student will give a 15-minute program and meet society members and attendees at a post-performance reception.

Society members serving on the 2012 scholarship committee are: Judy Godwin, Sharon Strong and vice president Rex Simms.

The revered Steinway name representing classical piano virtuoso performers inspired Northsider Barbara Kirby and 16 like-minded piano aficionados in 1980 to fund an annual awards program recognizing outstanding students studying piano at 16 Georgia colleges and universities. Each featured 2012 student will receive a $1,000 unrestricted cash scholarship to further his or her music careers. The society also sponsors the Prodigy Award for students under 15, and created an endowment scholarship at Kennesaw State in 2008.

Information: (770) 457-4986 or visit

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Strut Your Mutt will be a people-and-picnic party for anyone who loves dogs or cats! Mark your calendar for Sunday and join the fun at Heritage Sandy Springs’ Heritage Green from noon to 4 p.m.

The free, public outdoor event, sponsored by the Petco Foundation, is hosted by Furkids to celebrate pet lovers, animals and their adopters — especially folks who have adopted dogs through the Furkids/Small Dog Rescue partnership.

The family event will feature contests for dogs, live music, food by BB’s Q, beverages by Eagle Rock Distributing Co., a pet boutique, face painting, moonwalks, giveaways, raffles and a microchip clinic. There will also be a number of adoptable animals looking for homes.

Singer-songwriter Mike Sowden will perform live with his rockin’, stompin’ guitar box show.

“Petco has been a strong and devoted partner in helping Furkids and Small Dog Rescue & Humane Society match homeless dogs and cats with adoptive families “ said Samantha Shelton, founder and executive director of Furkids. “In metro Atlanta alone, there are approximately 10,000 happy dogs and cats matched with loving adoptive families.”

Volunteers helping make plans are Jarid Neff, Anne Stockton and Lauren Miller.

The nonprofit Furkids acquired Small Dog Rescue & Humane Society in 2011 and both organizations have a long-term relationship with Petco. With 600 cats and dogs cared for daily, Furkids tends to more animals than any other animal organization in the Southeast.

Information: (770) 613-0880 or visit

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The Friends of Bitsy Grant Tennis Center are partnering with the Piedmont Driving Club Tennis Committee to host a grand-slam style Bitsy 60 anniversary party Oct. 25 to celebrate six decades of tennis at the fabled Buckhead center.

A humorous and entertaining evening with a buffet dinner and a cake-cutting ceremony at the club will feature some of Atlanta’s legendary tennis tales shared by the legends themselves. Sam Crenshaw, sports reporter and anchor for 11 Alive News, will moderate the program to recognize Atlanta’s colorful tennis history while raising awareness and funds for the future vision of the historic tennis center.

Bitsy’s grandson, Beau Grant, will be recognized as a representative of the Grant family. Peter Howell and Richard Courts, sons of G. Arthur Howell and Malon Courts, the catalyst for the original development of Atlanta Memorial Park, which includes the center, also will be introduced. Jim Mills Sr. is the honorary chair with the Bitsy Friends board members serving as hosts.

Author Robert Anthony “Tony” Rives will be on hand to sign copies of “Tennistown, USA: A Georgia Tennis Scrapbook,” which covers 100 years of Georgia’s colorful tennis history with photographs, biographies and anecdotes about the state’s greatest tennis heroes.

The center was built in 1952 and named for the famed “smallest American male ever to reach champion status on the international tennis circuit.” Atlanta-born Bryan Morel “Bitsy” Grant was to tennis what Bobby Jones was to golf, a true legend. Born into an Atlanta tennis-playing family on Christmas Day 1909, as an adult Bitsy was only 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed 135 pounds. In 1925, at just 16, he won his first Southern championship and went on to fame on the international circuit playing on clay, grass, indoor and hard surfaces.

The great player of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s participated in the early Atlanta Invitational tournaments. Since its inception, the center has been making tennis available for a wide range of people. Anyone can use the courts for a small fee. Today, it is part of the city of Atlanta’s parks and recreation facilities and managed by Universal Tennis Academy as the largest public tennis facility in the metro area.

Proceeds from the anniversary event and auction will benefit the development of the master site plan to shape the next 60 years of tennis at the center.

Tickets and information: (404) 575-0898 or visit

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For seven straight years, the Historic Oakland Foundation has hosted the Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween tours featuring costumed storytellers and guides among the eternal “residents” in the garden-style historic Oakland Cemetery near Grant Park.

Oct. 25 through 28 will be the only 2012 dates the cemetery gates will open after dark. Volunteers with the foundation will act as hosts starting at 5:30 p.m. each evening to tell stories about people who helped make Atlanta the great city it is today — as well as tales of murder and mayhem to add fun and excitement to the spooky holiday strolls.

“The atmosphere is eerie and stores are compelling,” foundation Executive Director David Moore said. “The walkways, graves and mausoleums are illuminated by moonlight, torches, holiday lights and candlelight.”

Halloween visitors are encouraged to bring flashlights and wear comfortable walking shoes. Costumes are welcome. The tours last about one hour and will depart from the bell tower. Musical entertainment and fortune telling will continue throughout the evening.

Refreshments, including beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks, will be available for purchase and the museum shop will be open after hours with a unique array of books and cemetery-related items for sale.

Tickets are sold in advance in time increments to assure visitors are accommodated on tours. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children 4 to 12 and free for youngsters under 4. Proceeds will be used to provide care for the Victorian-era cemetery.

The nonprofit volunteer foundation was founded in 1976 to partner with the city of Atlanta to preserve, restore enhance and share Oakland with the public as an important cultural resource and an island of tranquility in the heart of the urban city.

Tickets and information: (404) 688-2107, ext. 15 or visit

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The Atlanta branch of the English-Speaking Union of the United States will present a distinguished speaker at its annual black-tie dinner Oct. 26 at Capital City Country Club in Brookhaven.

The featured guest for the annual Sir Evelyn Wrench Speaker will be Roger Pringle, director emeritus of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford upon Avon, England, who is currently on a U.S. tour. His talk is titled “Americans, Shakespeare and Stratford.” As a director of the annual Stratford Poetry Festival, he has been involved with such renowned actors as Judi Dench, Ian McKellan, Peggy Ashcroft, Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley.

The chair of the Atlanta affair is Northsider Kurt Travis, and the host committee co-chairs are Fay and John Selvage.

The union is a network of 70 branches throughout the U.S. Branches celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and goodwill by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators and members.

The original union, an international educational nonprofit, was established in 1918 after World War I through the efforts of journalist Sir Evelyn Wrench. In 1957 it received a royal charter, with Queen Elizabeth II as the royal patron. Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh, has been president of the union commonwealth since 1957.

Headquartered at the Dartmouth House in Mayfair, London, the union’s many activities are coordinated by a director-general and a 27-member board of governors. Its purpose is to “bring together and empower people of different languages and cultures through the English language.” The union’s U.S. headquarters is in New York and is chaired by Patricia Schroeder, a former Congresswoman.

With nearly 40 branches in the United Kingdom and more than 50 international branches, the union promotes a variety of activities such as debating, public speaking and student exchange programs, runs conferences and seminars and offers scholarships to encourage the effective use of the English language around the globe.

Atlanta is one the oldest branches in the U.S. Local members celebrate English as a shared language to foster understanding and goodwill by providing local educational and cultural opportunities. The chair of the Atlanta board is Manning Pattillo, former president of Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, and the president is Charles Maddrey.

Currently, Atlanta members sponsor an annual metro-area junior and senior high school student Shakespeare competition.

Winners advance to participate in a national competition in New York, with the national winner receiving a visit to the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London. The Atlanta branch also offers a scholarship program for Southeastern college students to participate in special summer study programs in Britain.

The event is open to union members and prospective members.

Tickets and information: (404) 355-1945 or visit

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Trees Atlanta, with the support of the city of Atlanta, is adding a series of free public lectures to its public schedule of events for those interested in horticulture and greenspace aficionados. The first one is scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Kendeda Center headquarters in Reynoldstown.

The first visiting speaker will be Ashby Leavell, a recent graduate of the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware. Leavell will talk about her master’s thesis and describe the restoration of the High Line in New York, where sleek lines and lush plantings have dazzled millions since it was opened in 2009.

The project is similar to Atlanta’s Beltline, a 22-mile circle of abandoned railroads redeveloped into public transit and surrounded by development including parks and residential, restaurant and retail space.

“I am delighted to showcase my research and learn about the Atlanta Beltline project,” Leavell said.

She will talk about High Line project and four others. Attendees can take positive local action on how to develop the Atlanta Beltline project with native and non-native trees.

Four other Trees Atlanta speaker events are scheduled through 2013.

The volunteer nonprofit Trees Atlanta was founded in 1985 by Central Atlanta Progress, the Junior League of Atlanta Inc. and the Atlanta parks commissioner. Over the years it has been a prime force addressing Atlanta’s tree loss, creating increased greenspace, conserving trees and educating the public of all ages on how to grow and maintain the city’s urban forest.

Working with 4,500 volunteers and numerous neighborhood associations, it has enhanced local environments by planting more than 88,000 trees throughout the metro landscape.

Reservations are required for the limited seating and light refreshments.

Reservations and information: (404) 681-4897 or visit

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