A morning full of shopping, eating, sipping sparkling cider and listening to Christmas music delighted all attendees at the Bowen Center for the Arts' ‘Christmas at the Bowen' fundraiser event on Saturday.
The event was organized by arts center President Nancy McNeil, and was held on Nov. 5 beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Participants arrived to find the arts center's main rooms filled with tables, all decorated by local schools and groups with the cheeriest of Christmas and holiday decor. Elaborate centerpieces, handmade place mats and festooned chairs were a staple at each of the 13 sponsored tables.
Dawson County High School Juniorettes LEAD, a community service club sponsored by the Dawson County Woman's Club and MaryBob Fox, served the lunch at the event, which included quiche, a salad and a slice of cheesecake with a cherry sauce that McNeil made herself.
After lunch, raffle prizes were given out. Each attendee received a ticket upon entering, and many went home with gifts from local vendors at the Candy Cane Marketplace, which is located inside the arts center. Artists and makers sold their unique and handmade wares to attendees during the event as well.
Candy Cane Lane Marketplace will be open at The Bowen Center for the Arts from Nov. 8 through Dec. 16. Anyone can stop by and shop for unique and handcrafted holiday gifts Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Saturday from noon until 4 p.m.
The event concluded with a performance from Gabriel Russo, an award-winning Frank Sinatra impersonator. Russo sang some of Sinatra's greatest hits, including many holiday favorites like "White Christmas."
The arts center will be welcoming a new line of board members next year, as McNeil will step down from her three-year reign as vice president and president. Barbara Vermillion will replace McNeil as president.
One new board member will be Jennifer Brinson, art teacher at Dawson County High School. Brinson attended the event, and explained her decorated table to those who asked about the handmade items.
"The students made the sculptures," Brinson said, pointing to the glossy white deer and Christmas trees that made up her table's main center piece. Brinson also made small square ceramic plates for the table, which were painted white with pieces of pastel red and green holly.
"I wanted to do a more muted color scheme, something different than traditional bright Christmas colors," Brinson said.
Many sponsors of the center attended the event, including representatives of the Northeast Georgia Health System Medical Plaza 400, who were selling $5 raffle tickets to win the Heart-in-Hand Quilt Guild's 2016 raffle quilt.
Other center sponsors include Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Funeral Funding, Northside Hospital, Serenity Medical Health and Beauty Spa and United Community Bank. Proceeds of the event will fund the center's many programs, including an upcoming program for kids.
The event will be held the morning of Nov. 12 for local kindergarteners, first and second graders. A flyer was sent out to students at the four elementary schools and reservations have to be made in advance.
The event will feature arts and crafts, cookies and juice boxes, and Santa will be attending. Dawson County High School's Interact club will be aiding in the event.
The teams who decorated Christmas tables and their themes are as follows:
Black's Mill Elementary with "Gingerbread House and Candyland" decorated by Stephanie Danuser and the student council
Dawson County High School with "Christmas Wonderland" decorated by Jennifer Brinson and her students
Dawson County Woman's Club with "Nutcracker Sweets" decorated by Jane Miller
Diane and Larry Kulish with "Ribbons and Holly" decorated by Diane Kulish
Juniorettes LEAD and MaryBob Fox with "Silver and Gold" decorated by the Juniorettes and MaryBob Fox
Kilough Elementary with "Christmas Wishes" decorated by Hailey Fowler and her students
Rachel Remington Designs with "Woodland Wonderland" decorated by Tracey Smith
Ric Rack with "A Candy Cane Christmas" decorated by Ruthellen Anderson, Ruth Pierce and Julia Swift
Riverview Elementary with "A Riverview Spark Christmas" decorated by Chris Lundy and his students
Robinson Elementary with "Sticks and Stars" decorated by John Lundy and his students
Rotary of Dawson County with "Rotary Serving Humanity" decorated by RObin Correnti, Chris Sharp and Jeanne Tompkins
The Ladies of Gold Creek with "Christmas Village" decorated by the Ladies of Gold Creek
Dawson County Junior High also decorated a table
The tables were not judged and awards were not given out at this year's event.