It's hard to know which is more awe-inspiring: To watch two dozen people sweat for hours over amazing chalk-art creations at the Columbia County Amphitheater on Saturday, or to know that those artists knew the creations would last only until the next hard rain.
As it was, that hard rain came about five hours after the last artists at Art in the Park finished their works Saturday, with the heavens hosing off the sidewalks as if the artists had never been there.
But while the works were fleeting, the event - Art in the Park, and its first sidewalk art contest - will leave a lasting impression.
I just get a feeling about this particular event that it really has legs. Adding the sidewalk art contest to the arts festival produces a combination with enormous potential.
The best news, though, is that we took lots of pictures, so those artworks will live forever.
It was even more awe-inspiring to hear that members of the Virginia Tech Marching Virginians are going to build a Habitat for Humanity house in Blacksburg, Va., in memory of former bandmate Ryan Clark.
Everyone remembers Clark: A Lakeside High School graduate, he was just days away from receiving his college degrees - he was a triple major - when he was the first person shot April 16, 2007 in the Virginia Tech mass murders.
Memories can tend to be short, though, so this memorial for Clark two years after his death is a testament to just how big an impression he made on his fellow students.
That home isn't the only thing in his memory. Columbia County Community Connections on May 15 is scheduled to hold a ceremony at Lakeside High to present the inaugural Ryan Clark Scholarship and Community Service Award to a student from Columbia or Richmond counties.
The award will go to the student "who most exemplifies the Virginia Tech motto that Ryan stood for: 'Ut Prosim' - That I May Serve'," reads an announcement for the ceremony.
Clark's mother, Letitie Clark, summed it up best in a comment to staff writer Preston Sparks: "I thank all for keeping Ryan in their hearts, but most of all for allowing a blessing to come in the wake of such tragedy."
Tee off vs. cancer
I appreciated being invited last week to speak to the members of the Columbia County Exchange Club. And I'm glad to see the fundraiser they've put together on behalf of a former member.
The club's Golf Day, set for May 18 at Goshen Plantation Golf Club, will raise money for children retinoblastoma - eye cancer.
That former exchange member, Jeff Asselin, is a coworker of mine. He has an infant son currently being treated for eye cancer; he has already lost an eye to surgery. It's a relatively rare disease, but one that doesn't play around.
If you'd like to play in the tournament, pay for a sponsorship or just make a donation, call Brad Codman at (706) 339-3859.
Relays raise money
Speaking of cancer, this weekend is Harlem's Relay for Life. They'll start Friday evening and go through the night at Harlem Middle School's football field.
They have a full night of entertainment planned. They're even getting a visit from state Insurance and Fire Commissioner John Oxedine, who also happens to be running for Georgia governor.
Spectators and participants are welcome.
Then, on Saturday, American Legion Post 192 in Evans will also join the cancer fight with a fundraising car wash from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the post on Legion Drive off Owens Road.
Cancer is just plain ugly, and everyone has someone close to them who has fought or lost a fight to the disease. These events are fun and games, but they're serious about raising money to find a cure. Help out if you can.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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