Several events are planned in the coming weeks aimed to save Dawsonville's historic Pool Room.
The downtown, landmark eatery was seized by the Georgia Department of Revenue for delinquent taxes. According to a notice that remains posted on the front door, owner Gordon Pirkle owes more than $84,000 in unpaid taxes and fees.
"It's not about helping an individual, but about the history of Dawsonville," said Robin Smith, speaking on behalf of a volunteer group that formed to raise funds for the cause.
A Dawsonville institution, the Pool Room pays homage to native son and NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, with news clippings lining the walls.
There are also Ford front bumpers suspended from the ceiling and a tire sitting next to the register from Elliott's 1985 Southern 500 victory.
"Let's race into history and forever change our community. It's important to our community to keep this piece of history alive," Smith said.
A unique beauty pageant, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on July 14 at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, is the first planned event to "Help Save the Pool Room."
Organizer Sara McCollum, who worked at the restaurant as a teen, said girls in the pageant will be dressed in jeans and T-shirts, rather than frilly and often expensive pageant dresses.
"I wanted to ensure that all girls, even those without pageant dresses, could participate," she wrote on the pageants Web site.
The entry fee is $50 with the option to compete in additional categories such as most photogenic, prettiest smile and best personality.
The next day on July 15 a concert is planned at Veterans Memorial Park featuring local musician Dell Conner. Other local, family-friendly bands will also appear on stage from 3 to 10 p.m.
There will also be inflatables and face painting for the kids, vendors, raffles and a silent auction, as well as Checkered Flag Catering on-site to fire up the grill for dinner.
Tickets are $5 for children and $15 to $20 for adults. Tables that seat six are available for $180, with dinner included.
The following weekend, on July 21, a car and bike show will be held at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame beginning at 4 p.m.
There will also be a swap meet, food and the band Skookie Perkins performing.
Admission is free. Donations will be accepted to set up vendor and swap meet booths.
A $15 donation will also be accepted to register cars and bikes in the show.
All proceeds will benefit the Pool Room.
Last month, Pirkle said he knew he had a lot of friends, but said he has been astonished by the calls, words of encouragement and support he's received.
"Not only from here in Dawsonville, but from other states, too," he said. "It's just overwhelming."
Accounts have also been set up at United Community Bank and First Citizens Bank of Georgia to "Save the Pool Room."
For more information, call Robin Smith at (678) 617-3307.