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Things To Do Forsyth County {Weekend Edition}

Things to Do Forsyth County For The Weekend Of December 14 – 16

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! There is so much fun to have over the next few weekends. I hope you enjoy the time with your friends and family! Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to all things Christmas in Forsyth County. It holds all the places to see Santa, Christmas lights, and so much more!

-Rachael

QUICK REMINDER – if you have an event or activity coming up, make sure you add it to Forsyth County’s community calendar. You can do that by clicking here.

FRIDAY:

SATURDAY:

vickery village farmers market

SUNDAY:

Click here for all the Calendar information.

Kids Eat Free

  • Take a break from cooking this weekend and go out to eat where the Kids Eat Free

Don’t Miss these Posts:

  • 2018 Holiday Guide: Our ultimate holiday guide is updated and ready for you! Everything from Santa to Christmas lights to tree farms and everything in between.
  • Instant Pot Elderberry Syrup: Cold & flu season is here! Combat the sickness with this easy instant pot recipe.
  • Places To Volunteer in Forsyth County: Around this time of year, many people begin looking for places to volunteer. We have a list of all the opportunities in Forsyth County.

No matter what you do this weekend, we hope you enjoy it & have a safe one!


This post is sponsored by:

Featured

Christmas Activities Cumming GA & Forsyth County {2018}

**Please note: The 2018 Guide to Christmas in Forsyth County is in progress! New events are added every day.**

Christmas Activities in Cumming GA & Forsyth County {2018}

Once again we plan to do our best to keep you updated with all the Christmas Activities in Cumming & Forsyth County this 2018 Season. There are so many Christmas activities to enjoy right here close to home.

As always:  Want to see your listing included?  If your church, business or organization has a Christmas event, submit your event here.


This guide is sponsored by The Cole Team – if you or someone you love is looking to sell or buy, give them a call anytime!


Helpful Christmas Activities Guides

If you missed the below round-ups, be sure to check them out.  They are full of lots of great information for Cumming, GA & Forsyth County.

Locations to Purchase a Christmas Tree
Locations to See Santa
Christmas Light Shows
Christmas Church Service Round-Up 

Where to Recycle Christmas Trees

Looking for more? Find Holiday Events in Gwinnett from our friends Gwinnett Family!

Things To Do this {2018} Christmas Season in Forsyth County:

Events are listed in date order. Listings will be updated as new events are added to our community calendar. Click “Event Title” for more information.  As with all events listed on our website, these are subject to change at any time & without notice.  We encourage you to follow the event on Facebook, the website provided, or phone/email contact information for most recent & accurate information.

Ongoing:

November 29th – December 22nd:  Christmas in Castille Light Show
November 17th – December 22nd:  Christmas at Bottoms Tree Farm
November 17th – December 21st:  Christmas at Kinsey Family Farm
November 13th – December 30th:  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
November 22-January 7: Winter Wonderland in Cumming (Ice Skating Rink)

Saturday, November 17th:

Thursday, November 22nd:

Friday, November 23rd

  • Photos with Santa at the Cumming Fairgrounds (Horton Hall) 3-7pm

Saturday, November 24th

Sunday, November 25th

Thursday, November 29th:

Friday, November 30th:

Saturday, December 1st:

Sunday, December 2nd:

Monday, December 3rd

Tuesday, December 4th

Wednesday, December 5th:

Thursday, December 6th:

Friday, December 7th:

Saturday, December 8th:

Sunday, December 9th:

Monday, December 10th:

Tuesday, December 11th

Wednesday, December 12th:

Thursday, December 13th:

Friday, December 14th:

Saturday, December 15th:

Sunday, December 16th

  • The Nutcracker at South Forsyth High School 1pm & 5pm

Monday, December 17th

Tuesday, December 18th

Wednesday, December 19th:

Thursday, December 20th:

  • No Events Yet

Friday, December 21st:

Saturday, December 22nd:

Sunday, December 23rd:

Monday, December 24th:

Tuesday, December 25th:

local christmas in forsyth county

 From our family to yours …  Merry Christmas!

St. Simons Island, GA: Best Places To Stay & Things To Do

St. Simons Island

In 2017, St. Simons Island, GA was voted by Southern Living Magazine as the South’s Best Islands. And we can see why. It’s beautiful and full of history plus a beach. What else could you desire in a vacation? St. Simons Island is well suited to multi-generational families or singles who want a beach vacation on a quieter island. Some of the popular interests pursued by guests are golfing, historical sites (Fort Federica National Monument) and wonderful Southern & seafood options in the Fishing Village and Pier of St. Simon.

If you are thinking about planning a trip to St. Simon’s Island, then you have found the perfect article. We will be walking you through some of the best places to stay as well as plenty of things to do while you are there.  St. Simons Island is about a 5-6 hour drive from Cumming, GA.

Whatever you do, we hope you enjoy your visit to St. Simons Island! 

Places To Stay

Using Vacasa to book your beach house is the best route to go. You can find homes from $96 to $1200 a night. You just have to browse the available homes that meet your budget and size needs. We have a few homes to highlight that we think are just perfect for your next beach vacation!

Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze Villa is a spectacular recently renovated home right on the sandy coastline of St. Simons. Find an oversized private pool and lounge area, dune side deck, multiple balconies, and an observation tower all with stunning ocean views. Even the shared living spaces and master bedroom offer ocean views! These spacious accommodations offer both an upstairs and downstairs laundry room, a fully-equipped kitchen and two beautiful master suites. Your very own private path to the beach makes this a once in a lifetime experience.

Ready to book this house? Follow this link

Seahorse Villa

Enjoy gorgeous ocean views and your own private pool when you vacation at Seahorse Villa on St Simons! Walk 125 yards and you’ll find yourself at the popular Coast Guard Beach for fun in the sun. This lovely multi-story new build home offers fantastic amenities for the perfect beach getaway. An elevator makes moving groceries and luggage a snap, and the well-appointed kitchen will have the home cook living in luxury. Take in fresh ocean breezes from one of six balconies, or head downstairs to the patio while dinner cooks on the propane grill.

Ready to book this house? Follow this link

Atlantus Cottage

The Atlantus II Cottage offers a high-end style a short stroll from popular Coast Guard Beach. Walking only 150 steps will take you to the community pool, pavilion, and all day fun in the sun. Inside this well-equipped home, you’ll find breezy balconies and a rooftop deck with stunning beach views from an elevation of 50 feet. The updated cottage offers Brazilian Cherry floors, lovely master ensuite, and a gourmet kitchen among many details that add to its character. Relax in the main living space with the gas log fireplace and smart TV with apple sound technology while playing games.

Ready to book this house? Follow this link

St. Simons Happy Place

Discover the light-filled island charm of this beautiful four-bedroom home, a recently redecorated St. Simons Island retreat with family-friendly amenities, a screened porch, a fenced backyard, updated furnishings and appliances, and a perfect location close to shops, restaurants, and gorgeous beaches. It’s an ideal escape for anyone interested in biking, beach-combing, touring historical attractions, and shrimping on the Lady Jane!

Ready to book this house? Follow this link

Things To Do

So you have made it to St. Simons Island, now what? Well, we have you covered with over 25+ things to do. Whether you are traveling with a family, on a business trip, or spending some of your retired time in St. Simons Island – there is something for everyone. Let us know what your favorite thing is to do when you are traveling.

  1. Get some R & R on the beach or on the back porch of the home you are staying in!
  2. Check out the Lighthouse Museum
  3. Take a tour around the Historic Coast Guard Station
  4. Visit Fort Federica
  5. Go kite surfing
  6. Swim in the ocean
  7. Swim in the pool
  8. Do some fishing
  9. Take a bike ride to look at all the natural beauty of this town
  10. Go golfing
  11. Go play tennis
  12. Take a kayak out
  13. Go shopping in town
  14. Hit some local restaurants like Sand Castle Cafe & Grill, Sal’s Neighborhood Pizzeria and Halyards.
  15. Play at Neptune Park
  16. Take a surfing lesson
  17. Check out the Fishing Pier
  18. Take a tour of Harrington School
  19. Visit the Wesley Memorial Gardens
  20. Take your photo with the Tree Spirits of St. Simons Island
  21. Shop at A Pane in the Glass
  22. Grab some sweets at Keep it Sweet
  23. Have a picnic lunch or dinner at Neptune Park
  24. Take a Trolley Tour with St. Simons Colonial Island Trolley Tours
  25. Discover the culinary delights with Food Tours Golden Isles
  26.  Have fun with Coastal Backwater Adventures and drive your own personal Catamaran

Library Receives Budget Increase for Longer Hours, Outreach Services, and Materials

Forsyth County Public Library is pleased to announce expanded weekday hours at all four of its branches, effective January 7, 2019.

Libraries will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, giving patrons both earlier and later access to materials, computers, and all library services. The library will continue to be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“We’ve had frequent requests to open the libraries earlier and to keep them open later, especially from adult patrons who use the public computers and from students who are doing homework, researching papers, or working on group projects,” says Library Director Anna Lyle.

The 2019 budget adopted by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on December 6 includes funding for four additional part-time staff members that will make the expanded weekday hours possible, along with a full-time Outreach Specialist responsible for taking library programs and materials to events at local nonprofits and other organizations to serve children and adults who may not otherwise be able to visit the library.

“We’re grateful to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners for including an increase in the 2019 budget to allow the library to provide expanded services to the Forsyth County community,” added Lyle.

In addition to adding staff for increased operating hours and outreach, the County’s 2019 allocation to the Library includes funding for increased benefits costs, a 4% merit increase for eligible employees, and $50,000 for new materials for the library’s collection to offset the end of SPLOST VI funds.

“This increase in funding will help the library serve the entire Forsyth County community, both inside and outside the physical walls of the library,” says Lyle.

For information on programs and services available at the Forsyth County Public Library, please visit www.forsythpl.org.

Private Parties at Pinot’s Palette in Johns Creek

Private Parties at Pinot’s Palette in Johns Creek

Host the best night ever! Your guests don’t need any art experience to have a good time at Pinot’s Palette. One of their local artists will guide the group through every step of the painting. Your party will have a private room, complete with all the little extras to make the night run smoothly.

With a private painting party, you get to call ALL the shots! {Insider Tip: Ask Pinot’s Palette about custom paintings, catering partnerships and music playlists.}

How To Book

Private events are booked by placing a refundable deposit to secure your desired date and time (after availability is confirmed by the studio).

What’s Included

Pinot’s Palette wants your event to be fun, organized and effortless. They will provide you with all the supplies needed for a party, including their helpful artist(s) to host and guide your guests through the event. They  include the following:

  • Private Party Room

In-studio parties will have an entire room to themselves, with plenty of space for all guests.

  • Art Supplies

Canvases, brushes, paints, palettes, aprons and anything else needed to finish a masterpiece. They also have a designated area to keep purses and coats.

  • Professional Instruction

Their instructors are professional artists themselves, and they are well-trained in making the painting process simple and enjoyable for painters of all skill levels. Everyone gets step-by-step instructions at a comfortable pace.

  • Ice, Ice Buckets, Bottled Water

The studio is equipped with ice and ice buckets to make it easier to keep drinks and food at the right temperature. Bottled water is available for all guests. You’ll also have counter space for food or gifts.

  • Glassware

They provide real glassware for all guests. No need to go out and buy disposable cups!

  • Music

Pinot’s Palette will have a crowd-pleasing playlist ready for you. Or, you can tell them what sort of music you’d like for your event and they will tailor a playlist to your needs. And don’t worry – they make sure the music doesn’t get in the way of hearing the artist’s instructions.

Painting Selection

Please provide your top three (3) desired paintings. They will always try to make sure you get your first choice; but due to occasional scheduling conflicts or materials shortages, it’s advisable to have a backup or two.

You don’t have to choose a painting in order to book an event, but the final selection must be confirmed with the studio at least two weeks before your event date.

Their painting library is huge! If you need assistance choosing the right painting for your group, just get in touch with them. They have hosted quite a few events and can help you narrow it down.

Offering Examples

We have a product quote to show you some of the most popular options. Take a peek at the image below!


Pinot’s Palette opened for business on May 6, 2009. Our first location was a cozy, local studio in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, TX. Being a new concept, we started small, with the hopes of hosting a wine and painting class three nights a week.

Before long, word spread, and now we have paint and sip franchise locations from coast to coast and internationally.

Together, we’ve created over one million paintings with our customers. And while we haven’t counted the corks, our guests have enjoyed plenty of wine with friends along the way.

We love being your go-to spot to relax, unwind and let loose. From date nights to birthdays and bachelorette parties, our paint parties are a unique way to celebrate all of life’s special moments – even if the occasion is just called “Friday.”

Connect Online: Website | Facebook
Location: 11720 Medlock Bridge Rd, Suite 175, Johns Creek, GA
Phone: 770.783.1783

Shop Local This Year: A Message From The Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce

Shop Local This Year

A Message From The Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce

Since the inception of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce in 1954, the purpose has remained the same; increase prosperity and promote a better community life for all. Their organization continues to be the leader in economic development, advocacy on issues of interest to business and engaging business leaders to ensure the long-term economic health of our community.

Cumming Local has partnered together this year to encourage you to shop local this year! We have several businesses to highlight this year. But we hope that you will choose to purchase your holiday gifts locally this year!

When you support a small, local business – you are supporting someone’s dreams!


Parsons Gifts

Parsons Gifts has been open for business in Cumming since 1946. The original store in Cumming was on the square and was a general store with groceries, hardware, farming supplies, dry goods, etc. Parsons remained on the square until 1982 when it was completely destroyed by fire, shortly after being completely remodeled. It was reopened in Tri-County Plaza and was there until 1990 when it was relocated to Lakeland Plaza.

It is still family owned and operated by the grandchildren of the original owners, Kate and Calvin Parsons. Gary and Cris Willis, and, Kay and Mike Montgomery, all work in the business. The Parsons family has been successful and stayed in business because they haven’t been afraid to change and update with the times. Parsons has always strived to carry unique merchandise. Some of the customers’ favorites right now are the extensive selection of Brighton, Pandora along with Ladies Clothing and other jewelry lines. Also, Parsons Buyers have a great eye for decorative accessories for your home. Parsons carries a nice selection of home décor items along with a wonderful selection of gifts for all ages. The Christmas Village displays are a big hit with customers, and Parsons Specialty Chocolates will keep you coming back to Parsons week after week!

Parsons carries a large selection of Christmas gifts and decorations each year. There is a 5,000 square foot Shoppe next door to the main store that features Garden Décor Feb to Aug. This store is then converted to Parsons Christmas Shoppe that opens each year in Sept. Parsons is known to have some of the most beautifully decorated Christmas trees in the Atlanta area. Christmas is definitely a great time to shop at Parsons!

Parsons Gifts: Website | Facebook

Location: 525 Lakeland Plaza Cumming, GA 30040
Phone: 770-887-9991


The Collection at Forsyth

Are you aware that the Collection has over 90 places to shop local at? Check their shopping directory at any time to look over the businesses located in the Collection at Forsyth.

The Collection at Forsyth is an outdoor lifestyle shopping destination in Cumming, Ga. Owned and managed by CORE Property Capital, The Collection at Forsyth features a variety of premier national retailers, restaurants and a movie theater, as well as specialty local stores and eateries.

In the Collection at Forsyth, you will find unique stores like Gibson Company. Gibson Co used to be located in the sweet little house next door to Browns Bridge Church. They moved to the Collection to have a bigger location. If you haven’t been in lately, I highly recommend it. Such a unique and fun store to walk through. And believe me, you will walk out with buying something. Everything in there is awesome!

The Collection at Forsyth: Website | Facebook


Vickery Village

I’d love to invite you to dine, shop and play at Vickery Village! You can enjoy one of the many fine restaurants, shop with the local merchants and bring the whole family to any of their free outdoor events in the Village Green. Housed in classic architecture surrounding a charming courtyard, Vickery Village is home to 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space.

The tenants include top restaurants representing many types of cuisine, an award-winning craft brewery, healthcare providers, local boutiques, a creative arts space as well as hair and nail salons.

On a typical day, friends meeting for coffee at Nido, people crafting at Pinspitation, and local residents enjoying a local craft beer from Cherry Street Brewing Coop.

On the weekend, you can enjoy live music at many of our restaurants, dine inside or out on the patio, craft with friends at Pinspiration, or even watch a movie outside on the big screen on selected evenings.

Please note: Vickery Village also hosts a Farmers Market. For more information on that event, head over to the Farmers Market Facebook page.

Vickery Village: Website | Facebook

Location: 5855 South Vickery Street, Cumming, GA 30040


We hope this encourages you to shop in Forsyth County this year! For more businesses to shop local at for the holiday, head to the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce’s Business Directory.

Happy Holidays!

Operation Griswold 4th Anniversary

Operation Griswold 4th Anniversary

By Joey and Laura Tirico
Located at 104 Wolf Creek Court Cumming, GA 30028

Inspired by the hit movie Christmas Vacation, “Operation Griswold” was born three years ago! A work in progress, my wife and I have enjoyed decorating our home for the Christmas holidays since moving to Cumming over nine years ago. We immediately fell in love with the Norman Rockwell countryside setting and friendly people. It is those friends and neighbors who inspire us every year to make each Christmas even more special than the last.

The day following Thanksgiving, its lights, ladders, and action! Resembling the set of a major motion picture, Operation Griswold 4.0 (the fourth year) is underway! 25,000 lights currently adorn the front yard taking about 30 days to finish. It definitely gets the attention of all the neighborhood kids who are mesmerized by the overwhelming beauty of lighted candy canes, ice cycles, lighted wreaths and 23-foot tall decorated Christmas tree in our front yard. Parents comment on how it brings back such fond memories of childhood, making our efforts so worthwhile.

While the outside can probably be seen from outer space, the inside is a totally different story. Inspired by visits each year to the Biltmore House in Ashville, NC, the inside is an elegant array of formal dining and entertaining. Whether it’s an informal bonfire in the backyard with close neighbors or a formal dinner with family, we love our home and living in such a picturesque neighborhood. We wish all of our friends and neighbors in the Wolf Creek Subdivision and surrounding community a very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!

2018 Festival of the Nativity Begins Nov. 29 – Dec. 2

Celebrate the Birth of Christ by visiting the display of more than 800 nativities from all over the world.

The Gainesville Ward (Congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invite all families and friends to visit the exhibit of more than 800 nativities from all over the world.

The exhibit will be open from 6PM9PM on November 29th through December 1st at 1234 Riverside Drive in Gainesville.

Final exhibit on December 2nd will be from 3PM to 9PM. There will be many performances of various artists from all over Northeast Georgia throughout the festival. This community event is a gift from the congregation to all who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Many have attended previous festivals in the past as part of their family Christmas tradition. This event is FREE to the public. Daytime tours can be arranged by calling 770-561-1199.

World Of Coca-Cola Makes The Season Bright With Five Holiday Highlights

World Of Coca-Cola Makes The Season Bright With Five Holiday Highlights

It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year – at World of Coca-Cola at least. Starting today through Jan. 1, guests can experience glittering lights, larger-than-life decorations, signature seasonal beverages and more as part of the attraction’s holiday celebration.

“Just as Coca-Cola has always been a special part of the holidays, World of Coca-Cola has become one of Atlanta’s must-do holiday activities,” said Joanna Hobday, Group Director, Retail Operations and Administration. “Every year, couples, friends and families visit us to see what holiday drinks we’ll have this year – and of course to check out our over-the-top decorations and limited-time exhibits.”

When visiting the attraction this season, don’t miss these FIVE holiday highlights:

1. Very Merry and Oh So Bright: Brand new this year, enter Pemberton Place by walking through a 28-foot-tall ornament of holiday lights. Along with trees wrapped with thousands of lights and larger-than-life ornaments, the lawn is transformed into a real-life winter wonderland – perfect for photos with family and friends. All that’s missing is the snow…!

2. Sip on the Season: Fill your cup with holiday cheer in the Taste It! beverage lounge, where you can enjoy signature seasonal beverages like Apple Pie Sprite and Gingerbread Coke at the sampling bar. Visit the Freestyle area for a sip of Coca-Cola Jolly Cherry Vanilla, Seagram’s Ginger Ale Cheery Cherry Vanilla and Sprite Merry Berry. 

3. History of the Holidays: Brush up on your holiday history when you visit “A Coca-Cola Christmas Celebration,” which showcases seasonal Coke ads and artifacts from around the world. Then, check out “History of the Coca-Cola Santa” to learn the real story behind the man in red we know and love.

4. But First …Take a Santa Selfie: Climb aboard Santa’s sleigh and snap a holiday selfie with your friends. Then, for more photo fun, greet the beloved 7-foot-tall Coca-Cola Polar Bear, who is always ready for a picture and a warm bear hug. Let the world know you’re a fan by using #WorldofCocaCola, and you might even see your photo on the attraction’s social media channels.

5. Refreshing Gift Ideas: Knock out some holiday shopping for Coke fans on your list when you visit World of Coca-Cola. Choose from a wide selection of apparel, glassware, home goods, and other items at The Coca-Cola Store, or shop online at CokeStore.com. With a World of Coca-Cola Annual Pass, the fun doesn’t have to end when the holidays do! Give your loved ones the gift of unlimited World of Coca-Cola visits and memories with the Annual Pass – it makes for a great stocking stuffer! For $34, you get one year of unlimited access to the attraction, expedited entry, and multiple discounts. You can purchase Annual Passes online or during your visit to the attraction.

And that’s not all – visit and see why people all over the world love to celebrate the holiday season at World of Coca-Cola!


About World of Coca-Cola

An integral part of downtown Atlanta’s fabric for more than 25 years, World of Coca‑Cola has welcomed guests from six continents, more than 100 countries, all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Join over 25 million people who have visited the Atlanta attraction and experience the history of the world’s most famous beverage brand at the dynamic, multimedia home of the 132-year-old secret formula for Coca‑Cola. Get closer than ever before to the vault containing the secret recipe, view more than 1,200 historic artifacts and get a behind-the-scenes look at the bottling process. Take a trip around the world in a thrilling 4-D movie experience, take a photo with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and tempt your taste buds with more than 100 beverages from around the globe.

World of Coca‑Cola is located in Pemberton Place, adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta, and is accessible via the Peachtree Center or CNN/World Congress Center MARTA stations. Consumers with questions may call 1-800-676-COKE or visit our website at www.WorldofCocaCola.com to purchase tickets. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/WorldofCocaCola, on Instagram at instagram.com/WorldofCocaCola and on Facebook at facebook.com/WorldofCocaCola.

Annual Gala And Live Auction For Horizon Christian Academy

Each year hundreds of families join together to help support Horizon Christian Academy through their annual Gala and live auction. This year the local community is invited to join in the festivities enjoy the dinner, entertainment, and raffles.

Get dressed up and support a great cause as HCA hosts it’s annual Gala Friday, November 30th at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Tech. Doors will open at 6 PM and the night’s festivities will begin at 6:30 PM. The evening promises to be filled with great prizes like a series 4 Apple Watch and art made by local artisans.

A delicious dinner will be provided by Chef Kern for guests as well as a live musical performance by Forsyth County native, Jacob Davis Martin. Guests can also bid on items during the silent auction and show off their silly side in the HCA Gala photobooth.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true live auction without highly highly sought after items like a Starbucks gift card wreath worth $500, 2 UGA Autographed Footballs in Cases by David Green, and a luxurious weekend trip to Doboy Island, GA that are sure to bring a little spice to the bidding that evening.

Don’t miss out on your chance to bid on a beautiful beach house on Dauphin Island, AL with enough space to sleep up to 16 guests. This gorgeous 5,100 square foot getaway boasts waterfront views, a recently renovated and spacious kitchen, and a large patio with a pool and jacuzzi overlooking the north bay. A week at this vacation home is valued at $5,000!

Thanks to generous donations from the HCA community, funds raised at the Gala have been used to purchase HCA’s 33-acre campus just one mile north of downtown Cumming.

Recently all proceeds from the Gala have been used to make improvements to the property such as purchasing new playground equipment for the students to play on during outdoor recess. Funds during this year’s Gala will be used to continue to provide facility expansion and growth.

To get your tickets to the HCA Gala and support the growth of the school and local community you can visit the Facebook event page or contact Cathy Ransom at Cathy.Ransom@hcaga.org or (678) 947-0711 ext 3.

Celebrate the Holiday Season with the Gingerbread Man at Family Literacy Event

Preschoolers, toddlers, infants, and their families are invited to celebrate the stories of the season at Leap into Literacy with the Gingerbread Man, Wednesday, December 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Cafeteria at Cumming Elementary School, 540 Dahlonega Street.

Admission to the event is free and advance registration is not required. While the program is designed for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, children of all ages are welcome to attend with a caregiver.

The event is the second in the 2018-2019 Leap into Literacy series and will feature a puppet show, stories and songs in English and Spanish, early literacy activities, and a chance to take a photo with the Gingerbread Man himself!

Participants will also enjoy a simple dinner from Rosati’s Pizza and an authentic gingerbread cookie baked by Gasthaus Tirol that children can decorate with toppings courtesy of Ingles Markets.

After meeting the Gingerbread Man and practicing a few simple early literacy activities, children will also receive a free book to take home, courtesy of Scholastic, Inc.

“Just over a year ago, Leap into Literacy was formed as a partnership between Forsyth County Public Library, Forsyth County Schools, Georgia Highlands Medical Services, and Literacy Forsyth because we recognized that local families need help preparing their children for success in kindergarten,” says Tracy Walker, Programming Manager at the library.

The program is designed to reach families with children from birth to age five with a series of four free early literacy events each academic year. The events include a storytime or puppet show program designed for preschoolers, a nutritious meal, and education activities that give parents and caregivers the ability to continue early literacy practices at home.

Leap into Literacy organizers agree on the importance of early literacy in preparing children for success in kindergarten and the holidays offer a wealth of opportunities to help children practice early literacy skills.

“Families love to tell stories and share their memories around the holidays and when we tell traditional stories or sing traditional songs, we’re often using words that aren’t as common in our speech at other times of the year. Learning these less common words increases a child’s vocabulary, and that becomes a predictor of reading readiness and success for children as they enter elementary school,” explains Amy Chang, Title I Director at Forsyth County Schools.

Information about literacy, education and health services from the library, Forsyth County Schools, Georgia Highlands Medical Services, and Literacy Forsyth will also be available during the program.

“In addition to helping parents and caregivers teach pre-reading skills to their children, Leap into Literacy also aims to connect families with young children to other free and low-cost services in Forsyth County,” adds Walker.

Leap into Literacy is sponsored by Forsyth County Public Library, Forsyth County Schools, Georgia Highlands Medical Services, and Literacy Forsyth. Leap into Literacy is also supported by a Community Impact Grant from the North Georgia Community Foundation, as well as contributions from Scholastic, Inc., Forsyth County Public Library Friends and Advocates, Barnes & Noble, and other local businesses.

For more information on upcoming early literacy events, including the next Leap into Literacy event in the spring, please visit www.forsythpl.org.

Pinecrest Middle School Students Engage in “2018 Space Odyssey”

Pinecrest Middle School Students Engage in “2018 Space Odyssey”

Pinecrest Academy’s Middle School teaching teams are presenting a unit on “Space” in a creative way this week. Principal Denise Cress introduced “thematic units of study” in 2016, and the concept was so well-received by teachers and students, it now happens each November.

“We all know the best way to learn a language is by immersion,” commented Denise Cress, Middle School Principal at Pinecrest Academy. “We’ve taken the same approach with our all school themed units, which are multi-sensory, and focus on experiential learning. Our students have a great time learning, and our teachers enjoy sharing in their excitement,” she continued.

This year’s theme is 2018 Space Odyssey, an intriguing approach to learning all about space. The launch of three rockets is planned for Thursday, and the entire Middle School took a field trip to the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, GA, on Wednesday.  A multitude of classroom activities that are everything “space” are happening daily.

The Middle School lobby has been transformed into a space station, and the week will culminate on Friday, November 16, with a talk by Mr. David Weigel, Director of Christenberry Planetarium at Samford University.  His talk will be about Pluto, its recent related discoveries, and how the scientific process relates to individuals. Mr. Weigel is a 2008 graduate of Pinecrest Academy.

“What’s great about presenting a themed unit in the way we are doing so is that the theme runs across every subject area,” explained Cress.

In 8th grade English, students read Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in a Day, a story written in 1950 and set on the planet, Venus. After reading and discussing the story, students had the options of creating a Powtoon, a PowerPoint, or a Popup Book about All Summer in a Day.

In Spanish class, students have been introduced to space-related vocabulary and placed on teams to compete in various activities. They participated in an all-Spanish Kahoot trivia, which tested their Spanish knowledge, as well as their science-knowledge of all things space.

Math classes have challenged students to become engineers and design space landers with 4×5 inch cardboard, straws, index cards, mini marshmallows and tape. Their aliens (marshmallows) cannot bounce out of the cup (alien’s cabin) when they test the lander for shock absorption and stability from 1-foot and 2-foot heights.

Students will complete their study of “space” on Friday, which also happens to be Pinecrest’s annual Grandparents Day, during which more than 200 grandparents will be on campus.

As a follow up to the 2016 themed unit of study on World War II and the Holocaust, Middle School students will engage in the third annual Daffodil Planting, supporting the “Daffodil Project,” on Friday, from 10:45-11:15am, in front of the Middle School. Started by Am Yisrael Chai!, a non-profit Holocaust Education and Awareness Organization, The Daffodil Project is a world-wide project empowering Holocaust Education. During the Holocaust, 1.5 million children died senselessly in Nazi-occupied Europe. Am Yisrael Chai! aspires to build a Living Holocaust Memorial by planting 1.5 million daffodils around the world to remember the children.

The site at Pinecrest designated for the daffodils was named the “Children’s Memorial Garden,” and was dedicated and blessed by former Middle School Chaplain, Fr. David Barton, LC, just before the daffodils were planted in November 2016. Students look forward to the spring when these daffodils will bloom, offering another reminder of the children of the Holocaust.

All are welcome to attend the talk on Pluto and the Daffodil Planting ceremony.


Pinecrest Academy is a private Catholic school conveniently located in Cumming, South Forsyth, just minutes from Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, and Suwanee. We serve families of all faiths seeking a Christian education for their children.

To learn more about our educational philosophy, please visit our website or connect with us on social media – Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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