October 17, 2013

Moving memorial highlights festival

Misty Watson

— The Georgia Law Enforcement Moving Memorial will make a stop in Northwest Georgia for the first time this weekend as part of the annual Black Bear Festival in downtown Chatsworth.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Dinah Rowe, president and CEO of the Chatsworth-Eton-Murray Chamber of Commerce, who hosts the festival. “Anytime we can honor our heroes, it’s a good thing.”

The memorial displays the names of more than 600 fallen law enforcement officials in the state. It will be on display Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as part of the festival, which is centered around Chatsworth City Park.

The wall includes at least two local people: Chatsworth Police Officer Cole Martin and Murray County Deputy Jacky Head, Rowe said. She said she was unaware of any others who may be on the wall.

Martin, 20, died in 2003 in a freak accident on while duty when a metal gate swung into his patrol car. Head, 46, was found dead in his home in 2012 when he didn’t show up for work.

There will be a formal ceremony on Second Avenue on Saturday at 10 a.m. There will be a special viewing area for families of law enforcement officials on the memorial.

The memorial is in the care of the Blue Knight Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club Georgia Chapter 7 and the Georgia Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors.

There are many other activities planned for the seventh Black Bear Festival. Each day there will be food vendors, craft vendors, entertainment, musicians, face painting, hay rides and a children’s corner. Admission to the festival is $1 per person. Children under 10 are free.

Historic sites, including the Chatsworth Depot, Section House and Wright Hotel will be open. Admission will be $5 for a combination ticket to enter the hotel and depot.

On Saturday during the festival, there will be:

• A car, truck, motorcycle and tractor show. Registration begins at 10 a.m.

• A 5K and one mile fun run at 1 p.m. at the First National Community Bank.

• A pumpkin decorating contest at 2 p.m. Bring pumpkins already decorated.

• A costume contest for all ages at 4 p.m.

• Performers for the day include magician and mentalist Charles Wright, the Holly Creek Praise Band, Taylor Johnston, Wade Trammell Band and Ayla Brown (an “American Idol” finalist).

On Sunday, there will be:

• A pet costume and parade at 1 p.m.

• A baking contest at 2 p.m. Fall recipes are preferred, but not required for entry.

• Performers for the day include The Dan Sluder Trio, The Kingdom Seekers Quartet, Janice Steelmon, the Wilson’s and A Place to Worship’s dance team.

Last year’s crowd was approximately 15,000, and Rowe said she hopes to see 20,000 this year.

“It’s going to be a little cooler this weekend,” Rowe said. “It will be great festival weather.... I think we’ll have a great festival.”