Grovetown officials plan to celebrate the city's history and honor Columbia County military veterans with the fifth annual Grovetown Heritage Festival.
The festival is scheduled for Memorial Day, May 28, to dedicate the newly constructed Veterans Memorial Wall in the Memorial Park at the corner of Old Wrightsboro and East Robinson Avenue.
The dedication ceremony of the serpentine granite wall will begin at 1 p.m. and will include comments on the importance of youth education from the commander of the Military Order of World Wars, a performance by the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band and comments from Brig. Gen. Randy Strong, Fort Gordon's commander.
"It is so exciting," said festival coordinator Rosa Lee Owens. "It is very appropriate at this time in our history. We need to recognize those who have served to keep our country free."
The names will be carved in stone - granite panels that will soon be installed into a serpentine wall that will serve as a memorial to active military personnel and veterans.
"They are putting the paver bricks down now," Mayor Dennis Trudeau, who also is a military veteran, said Wednesday. "The engraved panels are supposed to be ready by the 10th of May."
The Memorial Wall, which is nearly complete, will be the centerpiece of a city park honoring the large military presence in Grovetown. The double-sided serpentine wall will be inscribed with names of service men and women under the logo of the branch in which the person served. Construction began on the $120,000 project last fall.
"We've got probably pretty close to 800 (names)," Trudeau said, dating as far back as Revolutionary War veterans. More panels will be engraved as more veterans' names are submitted to the city, Trudeau said.
The ceremony also will include Columbia County historian Charles Lord, who will talk about Grovetown's history and military involvement, especially after the founding of Camp Gordon.
"This was a drop-off place for the soldiers when (Fort Gordon) was camp Gordon," Owens said.
Grovetown was founded as a railroad town and was used as a summer getaway for Augustans looking to escape the balmy summers along the Savannah River.
In honor of that history, Owens said a street festival will center around the railroad tracks on East Robinson Avenue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Owens said she expects more than 60 vendors centered at the park and sprawling toward Katherine Street.
Wisteria Hill Plantation, of Appling, will be providing children's carnival rides, games and face painting,
Area entertainment will be on stage all day including country bands, church groups, children's groups, demonstrations and karaoke.
Owens said volunteers and vendors are still being accepted. Call Owens at (706) 863-1867 or Dawn Green at (706) 210-5409.
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