Grovetown's history and Columbia County's military veterans will take center stage at the city's fifth annual Heritage Festival.
The festival is scheduled for Memorial Day, on Monday, to dedicate the new Veterans Memorial Wall in the Memorial Park at Old Wrightsboro Road and East Robinson Avenue.
"We certainly are anticipating a great time and a worthy combination of events," said Rosa Lee Owens, the event coordinator.
The dedication ceremony of the serpentine granite wall, what many city officials call the Living Heroes Wall, will begin at 1 p.m. and will feature the Fort Gordon Signal Corps Band and keynote speaker Brig. Gen. Randolph Strong, Fort Gordon's commander, speaking about Grovetown's history to the then-Camp Gordon.
The names of 800 of Columbia County's military veterans have been carved into granite panels and installed into the serpentine wall that will serve as a memorial to active and military personnel.
"We hope to have all those panels up by the end of Friday," Mayor Dennis Trudeau said.
The ceremony also will include county historian Charles Lord, who will perform a narrative, to the background music from the Signal Corps Band, about the history of Grovetown and its strong military ties. The city was chartered in 1881 and, particularly during World War II, served as the railroad depot for soldiers being shipped into or out of the fort.
Soldiers in period dress will be at the wall during the ceremony.
"It is going to be good," City Councilman Dick Manion said. "(It will be) soldiers in uniforms all the way from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the present-day battle soldiers."
The festival was started to honor the history of Grovetown, which was founded as a railroad town and was used as a summer getaway for Augusta's balmy summers along the Savannah River.
The festival begins at 9 a.m. with a Community Unity Walk. Anyone is welcome to join the walk for free, but should wear red, white and blue, said Dawn Charleston-Green, the walk coordinator.
"(The walk is for) everybody who is excited about the growing community of Grovetown," Charleston-Green said.
The festival, which is centered at the Memorial Park and runs until 5 p.m., also will include a classic car show and deejay, and lots of arts, crafts and food vendors, Owens said. Children can enjoy the Kid Zone, with carnival rides and games provided by Wisteria Hill Plantation.
Entertainment will be going on all day, said Mike Smith, entertainment coordinator. C.W. Cooper and the Country Ramblers will perform from 1 to 3 p.m.
"We definitely would like to see a lot of people come and have a nice day and enjoy," Smith said. "We're praying for sunshine."
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