Dade County Executive Ted Rumley reads a resolution announcing this year's Festival of Life on Saturday. Pictured are, from left, Melissa Blevins, one of this year's beneficiaries; her mother, Charlene Blevins, Allison Lancaster, the other beneficiary; and organizers Claudia Pridgeon, Cindy Cross and Diane Rumley.
Last Thursday's Dade County Commission meeting wasn't just about TSPLOST. The meeting was also the official kickoff for Dade's own Festival of Life, the annual outdoor benefit that brings the county together just as issues such as TSPLOST divide it. This year's FOL is this Saturday, April 14.
The Festival of Life is a uniquely Dade affair. It began in 2014 when Diane (Mrs. "Boss" Ted) Rumley, who had previously organized Dade's local chapter of a national cancer victim benefit, decided something local made better sense. Dade is a county with the loving farm community tradition of neighbors taking care of neighbors. Why not look after Dade's own sufferers rather than raising money for a national charity? So she and other volunteers began focusing their organizing skills toward creating this local benefit instead.
This year's festival will aid two local women: Melissa Blevins, who had breast cancer 12 years ago and went through double mastectomy and chemo, then was disagnosed last fall with cancer in her sacrum bone; and Allison Lancaster, who had chemo and radiation this fall for breast cancer. Festival proceeds and donations will go directly toward helping these neighbors cope with the crushing financial side of battling serious illness.
Festivities commence on the Trenton town square Saturday morning with the annual Kelly Moore 5K walk or run, named in honor of the first FOL honoree. Register for the race at 8 a.m. It starts at 9 a.m.
There will be music on the square all day starting at 10 a.m.--Dade also has a long tradition of fine homegrown musicians, and they always jump in generously to provide entertainment--and a silent auction in the Dade Public Library. You can start looking at the merchandise at 9:30 a.m., and bidding begins at 10.
The library will host, as it always does during the festival, a health and wellness fair inside, with mammograms in the Mary Ellen Locher mobile unit parked outside.
This year's festival T-shirt--$15 before the event, $20 during--not only honors this year's beneficiaries but lists previous years' recipients as well, as shown here by organizer Cindy Cross as Ms. Rumley models the shirt. Ms. Rumley pointed out that all but two of those are still among us.
Besides the silent auction and the 5K, there will be food and merchandise stalls, a cornhole tournament at 10 a.m., crafts, kids' activities and plenty of donation opportunities throughout the festival.
You may also donate directly, and tax deductibly, to DCFOL, P.O. Box 81, Trenton, GA 30752.
Organizers urge all area residents to come into Trenton this Saturday to join in the festivities and give themselves the pleasure of participating in the Dade community. As Cindy Cross said at the April 5 commission meeting: “This is the time to show that you love and care about folks."
For more information, you may call (423) 443-6917 or (423) 413-3698; or visit the festival's Facebook page. Here's a link: