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'Fa-La-La-La-Llamas' | Community pop-up market features special guests for EAV holiday event

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The Wit’s End Llamas steal the show (and hearts) at Brownwood community market.

EAST ATLANTA, Ga. – It was all Llama, no Drama on the morning of Saturday, December 13th, in the Brownwood neighborhood of East Atlanta as a baker’s dozen or so of local (and not so local) vendors converged for the Brownwood Holiday Pop-up Market.

This ad-hoc community event was the brainchild of Lauren Janis, founder, and owner of Big Daddy Biscuits, and was created as a way to support local vendors while engendering community engagement during the pandemic. 

“I did 10 pop-ups during the summer, and I figured let’s end the year with a bang,” asserts Janis. 

“I just wanted to let my community shop local, and to support businesses that they’re not able to go into any more and, and get the word out that they are amazing small businesses here in East Atlanta.”

https://vimeo.com/492951417

Janis hosted the very first of these pop-ups back on March, 21 in her very own driveway, which continued to serve as the de-facto ground zero for the pop-up markets for the subsequent ten weeks every Saturday from 10a – 2p. 

East Atlanta resident and co-founder of recent vendor Costa Leko, Rich Lindeman had these words to share about the event and its importance to the neighborhood.

“For the past 9 months, I have been raising two kids with home school, and spending my nights and weekends, painting away and in the basement and then coming out to awesome festivals like this.”

Tracy Munroe, owner & co-founder of Wit’s End Llama Consortium, had the distinct pleasure of shepherding ’Sully’ and ‘Pie’ (short for Paisano) around for patrons to pet and pose for selfies. 

As of one of the official mascots of East Atlanta, the holiday-garbed camel-cousins were the undisputed belles of the ball on Saturday. ‘Pie’ was dressed in Christmas attire, while Sully proudly represented as the ‘Hanukkah Llama’.

“It’s been an honor in a way, because once we got a little bit more stabilized were starting to hurt for something to lift their spirits up something to do in small groups or just do their families,” explained Munroe.

“We developed a way where we could socialize the llamas could still stay socially-distanced.”

The roster for the holiday pop-up included everything from local artists and farmers to llamas and tacos. 

List of vendors from Holiday Pop-Up event:
Big Daddy Biscuits
Wit’s End Llama Consortium
Park Pet Supply
Pinewood Springs Farm
Turnrow Bath, Body and Home
Frita Kale-O
Heather Greenway Jewelry
Handmade Studios Atlanta
East Atlanta Business Association
Lori Anderson
Pinewood Springs Farm
Tales of EAV
Emotional Support Plants
Costa Leko
Atlanta Yard Market
My Elderberry Fairy

Janis told Vox Pop ATL that while she initially intended for the pop-ups to only last through the summer, she felt compelled to host a final shindig before the end of the year. 

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the VOX POP ATL website and like us on Facebook.

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Community

‘Something To Remember Him By’ | The community of East Point honors the tragically short life of Ty’Rell Simms

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City officials, non-profits, and local charter school help to celebrate the memory of student with ‘Buddy Bench’, balloon memorial, and new mural. 

EAST POINT, Ga. — On the evening of Friday, November 6th, 2020, 11-year-old Ty’Rell Simms was headed home from his grandmother’s house with a friend. Tragically, he never made it — but his story and his legacy do not end there.

Victim of a drive-by shooting that had absolutely nothing to do with him, Simms left behind a grieving family struggling to cope with their senseless loss and a community left without their classmate, teammate, and friend.

Known for his natural athleticism, generous spirit, warm smile, and overall good nature, Simms touched the lives of many in the Tri-Cities in his brief eleven years. 

During the unpleasant undertaking of finding ways to commemorate Simm’s life, his fellow scholars at KIPP South Fulton Academy (KSFA) envisioned ways to commemorate his life. 

The Beta Club at KIPP Academy, where Simms had just begun his fifth-grade school year under pandemic distance learning approached the faculty and staff about a Buddy Bench.

The ‘Buddy Bench project’ is a relatively new initiative where plastic bottle caps and recyclable plastic items are repurposed into a functional memorial or ‘buddy bench’ in someone’s memory. 

“Our Beta Club scholars came to us wanting to find an outlet for celebration, for grief or just having a way to feel afterward,” recalls KSFA Literacy Coach, Kathryn McClinton.

“They came up with the ‘buddy bench’ idea so we could collect caps in his honor and create a bench where people could actually come and sit, and remember him while also forming bonds with other people.”

The goal of the daunting task of gathering 400-lb of plastics through donations, both local and abroad to create Simms’ memorial bench.

The cap collection process was spearheaded by a fellow athlete and community youth leader, CJ Matthews. While Matthews did not know Simms personally, he was so moved by the news of his passing, he felt compelled to contribute somehow.

Matthews is the co-founder and CEO of Blankies 4 My Buddies, an award-winning community non-profit that has been behind such community events as The Giving Bowl, and COVID Care Package.

Through its #Tops4Tyrell initiative, Blankies 4 My Buddies has collected donations from as far away as Columbus, Ohio. 

Family-friend and local pastor, Ray Waters solemnly recounts to Vox Pop All, the morning he received the call with the heart-breaking news of Ty’rell’s passing.

“It’s five minutes before church, and I’m thinking about what I’m going to talk about, and I get a call, and it is from Conrad’s (Ty’Rell’s father), brother. Scooter told me that Ty’Rell had been shot the night before and had died,” laments the Village Church pastor to Vox Pop ATL

“My whole life as a pastor, I’ve been called and told that something tragic that had happened — but nothing like that.”

East Point Parks & Recreation also contributed to Simms’ legacy by partnering with KSFA and the newly-founded community beautification program, Art in the Paint to paint the basketball court at Brookdale Park in East Point.

Other local companies that have contributed to the causes involving Ty’Rell are including the following:

Drip-Thru Coffee

Treat Love

Kupcakerie

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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Community

‘One To Grow On’ | Local non-profits join forces to expand food access options to the community

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Wholesome Wave Georgia and Food Well Alliance partner-up to expand SNAP benefits with ‘Georgia Plant 2 Plate’ program

EAST ATLANTA, Ga. — Although general concerns regarding the pandemic have seemed to greatly diminish, the needs of families still dealing with economic hardships and food insecurity have not.  

In an effort to increase the impact of its Georgia Plant 2 Plate food initiative, Wholesome Wave Georgia teamed up with Food Well Alliance to expand the benefits for SNAP households to include free gardening kits to Georgia families using their EBT cards at select local farmers markets. 

The Georgia Plant 2 Plate program was launched shortly after the pandemic shutdowns in April 2020 to ensure that SNAP recipients had reliable food access by offering 50% off fresh, healthy, and locally grown food.

https://vimeo.com/544003441

For 2021, the Plant 2 Plate program has expanded SNAP benefits to include 50% off local fruit and vegetable plant seedlings or ’starts’ to families paying with their EBT cards. 

Along with the purchase of fruit and vegetable starter plants, a free gardening kit including pots, soil, gloves, trowels, and plant care guides were provided to SNAP recipients.

Working in partnership with the Georgia Fresh For Less program at Wholesome Wave Georgia, Food Well Alliance hosted a Georgia Plant 2 Plate pop-up just in time for Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, 2021, at East Atlanta Village Farmers Market located at Stokeswood Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30316.

To date, Georgia Plant 2 Plate has hosted pop-up events at:

For more information about the 2021 Georgia Plant 2 Plate program, you can visit their website, and learn more about other programs involving the Food Well Alliance, click here.

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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Local Entertainment

‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ | Outdoor community festival returns to Historic Downtown College Park this weekend

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The ReKindle 2021: Arts and Music Fest comes back the CP City Hall Lawn boasting a bigger and better itinerary

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — If you look up the definition for the word, ‘Rekindle’ in the dictionary, you’ll find the following: ‘revive something that has been lost.’

A sentiment that arguably everyone on the planet can share as 2021 slides inexorably towards May and the onset of summer. Rising temperatures and vaccination efforts have begun to coax even the meekest from their COVID compounds to explore the outside world again. 

Luckily for the residents of College Park and the rest of Tri-Cities, there is a light at the end of that particular tunnel.

After having cut its teeth with the inaugural launch of its (hopefully) perennial festival last fall, the College Park Main Street Association (CPMSA) returns with the ReKindle 2021: Arts and Music Fest.

https://vimeo.com/543253229

The arts & music festival was a brainchild of CPMSA board member, Grace Lunsford, who proposed the idea to the CPMSA Board during the pandemic lockdown last summer. 

“I think it’s pretty obvious that while the Arts are not incredibly lucrative, especially for the artists, it is a magnet that draws people to local businesses,” Lunsford shares with Vox Pop ATL.

Renee Coakley, the Main Street Manager for the City of College Park, who worked closely with the CPMSA last Fall, had this to share.

“We did it so well the first time, as far as social distancing with everything still being up in the air, that we’re pretty much just reduplicating the entire framework with a few additions.”

ReKindle was created with a collaboration between the City of College Park Cultural Arts Committee and the CPMSA to incentivize residents to support the local businesses in and around the Historic Downtown College Park district.    

New additions included in this year’s program are an additional night of music on Friday, April 30th featuring CP community fan favorite, Last Five Standing as well as a children’s only art exploration, lovingly nicknamed the ‘Kid’s Korral.’ 

The Kids Korral is reserved for children ages 3-8 and will be located directly in front of the College Park Auditorium. Each participant will receive a ReKindle College Park paint and brush set sponsored by local favorite, Drip-Thru Coffee.

“Our family and our business are huge supporters of the arts,” expresses Drip-Thru Coffee owner, Christy Deen. 

“My background’s with Walt Disney World, so I always try to create a little whimsy, and when I found out that we could be a sponsor for the ‘Kids Korral’ for the ReKindle event this Spring. I was all about it.”

The schedule of events for the ReKindle 2021: Arts and Music Fest is as follows:
(Rain Dates | May 7-9th, 2021)

Friday | Music
5:30p -7p Pre-Concert Community Check-in & Picnic
7p – 9p ‘Kick-Off Concert’ | “Last Five Standing”

Saturday | Art
2p -5p Local Fine Artists | College Park City Hall Auditorium Lawn
2p -5p Open Gallery Tours |  Push Push Art Studios
2p -5p ‘Kids Korral’ Children’s Art Exploration | College Park City
Hall Auditorium Lawn

Saturday Evening | Music
5:30p -7p Community Pre-Concert Check-in and Picnic
7p – 9p ReKindle Concert | “Lamont Landers Band”

Sunday | Art
2p -5p Local Fine Artists | College Park City Hall Auditorium Lawn
2p -5p Open Gallery Tours |  Push Push Art Studios
2p -5p ‘Kids Korral’ Children’s Art Exploration | College Park City
Hall Auditorium Lawn
6p -8p Fine Artists Gallery Sale | The City Muse

Proceeds and donations from this weekend’s ticket sales will be applied towards funding for future College Park Main Street Arts and Economic Development Event Efforts.

For more information about the ReKindle 2021: Arts and Music Fest, visit the event page here.

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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