Do you realize how lucky Statesboro is to have a thriving arts community? The Averitt Center for the Arts is integral to the development of art, theatre, and culture in the region. The mission of the Statesboro Arts Council, operating under the name David H. Averitt Center for the Arts, is to provide quality arts opportunities for our community and to serve as a centerpiece for a vibrant, historic downtown. We think the Averitt Center is outstanding and gets an A+!
The facilities are a testimony in downtown development. Housed in two historic landmarks, the old Bank of Statesboro building (circa 1911) and The Georgia Theater (circa 1936), we now know these as the David H. Averitt Center for the Arts and the Emma Kelly Theater. The addition of the Center for Performing Arts/ Whitaker Black Box Theater on W. Main Street has expanded the artistic capabilities.
If you are traveling to Statesboro, be sure to check the Averitt Center’s calendar to see if you can catch a performance or participate in a program or event. Under the capable leadership of Tim Chapman, the twenty-two member staff does an outstanding job of organizing and careing for the facilities in order to reach thousands of citizens.
The galleries in the Averitt Center house ongoing art shows throughout the year. Currently, The Raven: Prints from Larry Vienneau, has a public exhibition through November 14th. Next, Statesboro Regional Arts Association Annual Juried Exhibition will be available for public viewing from November 20th through December 19th.
The 2015-16 Main Stage Performance Season in the Emma Kelly Theater will next feature The Rocky Horror Picture Show, October 30th, Calendar Girls, November 6th, and an annual favorite, The Nutcracker, November 20 – 22nd. Season tickets are available for a variety of productions including dramatic, musical produced nationally and locally.
The Averitt Center is intricately involved with downtown Statesboro community events, such as the Main Street Farmers Market, First Friday Events with the Downtown Development Authority, and seasonal events like Scare in the Square. They also sponsor events like pre-performance dinners.
Local productions involve community stars that audition, act and dance their way into patrons’ hearts. This thriving aspect of the Averitt Center allows talented citizens, of all ages, to shine on stage to the adoration of the community. South Pacific auditions will take place November 14th at the Center for the Performing Arts, Black Box Theater.
Learning the arts has no age barriers at the Averitt Center. Youth benefit from the Averitt Center with theater, ballet classes, chorale, strings and visual arts classes. Adults also can take continuing education classes in drawing, painting, acting and even ballroom dancing.
Yes, the Averitt Center receives an A+ for their commitment to excellence and quality arts experiences for their patrons. Operated by the Statesboro Arts Council, the Center receives funding from grants through various sources that include the City of Statesboro, Georgia Council for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and Southern Arts Federation.
As the weather begins to change with cooler temperatures, easy breezes in the air and falling leaves, we begin to think about pumpkins, corn mazes, hayrides, costumes and apple cider. The good news is there are fantastic fall activities happening throughout October and November for locals and visitors alike to attend. Let’s take a look:
October 9 & 10th – Ol’ Scarecrow Statesboro Whaddaya Know Medicine Show – Emma Kelly Theater – Free to All 3rd Grade Classes in Public and Private Schools in Bulloch County
October 19-24th – Ogeechee Fair – Kiwanis Fair Ground, Highway 301 South
October 3rd – November 11th – Old Freeman Family Farm Fun – Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch – Cooperville
October 27th & 28th – Rocky Horror Picture Show – Emma Kelly Theatre
October 30th – Ghost Tours by Lantern – Averitt Center for the Arts – Downtown Statesboro
October 31st – Halloween Concert by the Statesboro Youth Chorale – Emma Kelly Theatre
October 31st – Scare on the Square – Best Halloween Events in Bulloch County – Downtown Statesboro
November 7th – Nevils Elementary School PTO Fall Festival
November 14th – International Festival – Mill Creek Regional Park
November 21st – 8th Annual Turkey Trot – Downtown Statesboro
November 21st – George L. Smith Annual Sugar Cane Festival, George L. Smith State Park
November 24th – Shopping by Lantern Light – Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market – Charlie Olliff Square – Downtown Statesboro
Each of these events is geared to families and will help you enjoy a variety of offerings to help you “fall” into fall. So grab your kids, family and friends and come enjoy yourselves. Get into the “spirit” while you enjoy the season!
For more information of these events see:
It is always great to have visitors who come to Statesboro to attend a special event. As a great host city, Statesboro offers many different and unique venues to make you and your guests feel our southern hospitality. In order to know what the ‘Boro has to offer, read more about some great locations you can book or visit.
The largest venues can accommodate guests up to 500 people. Georgia Southern University offers several facilities, including the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center ballroom, the Russell Union ballroom and the Bishop Building, which is perched above GSU’s Paulsen football stadium. A premier exterior location is the Garden of the Coastal Plain, which is a beautiful green space with entertaining space. Each offers a variety of floor space, catering capability and parking.
In the private sector, you may find yourself at The Belle House, located at 380 Westside Road. Nestled in Georgia pines, this large multi-purpose venue lends itself to indoor and outdoor socializing. The Southern Hospitality Conference Center on Highway 67 and Veterans Memorial Highway has recently been refurbished with new carpet and paint. The lovely pre-function area and large dividable room is ideal for a variety of events.
The Hall by 40 East is a unique banquet facility located in downtown Statesboro. Found at 19 E. Vine Street, the room has a by-gone era feel with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. 40 East Restaurant provides the food and bar for this location for event-goers. Snella’s Place at 17 Allen Circle is perfect for weddings, receptions, family reunions and more. It is located on the north side of Statesboro.
The Holiday Inn at 455 Commerce Drive near Veterans Memorial Highway provides smaller multi-purpose event rooms along with hotel space. The Robbins Nest is a repurposed home that has a gazebo and pool to compliment the interior open space. This facility has been home to retreats, weddings, receptions and birthday parties. The Historic Statesboro Inn at 106 S. Main Street has an attractive multi-purpose room in the back building that is the right size for an intimate gathering. The Averitt Center for the Arts has a cozy second floor multi-purpose room available for small groups. For a location with a twist, Meindhart Vinyards and Winery opens up its out-of- town wine production facilities and garden area for events and local wine.
If you are visiting Statesboro for a wedding, reunion, conference, retreat or special gathering, rest assured you will find yourself in good hands. If you are looking for a venue here, be sure to investigate the many options available for groups of all sizes. Statesboro specializes in southern hospitality, so let us entertain you!
For antique junkies, Stateboro and surrounding areas can be a goldmine. Whether you like perusing aisles of consignment booths, want to find antiques or repurposed furniture, there is something for you in Bulloch County.
Starting at 67 Antique Mall right off I-16’s exit 127 at 6700 GA Highway 67, you will find 12,000 square feet of indoor space as well as an outdoor market. Check out every consignment booth to find a myriad of collectibles. Having a wedding or special event that needs some antique décor? 67 Antique Mall has a “Prop Rental” program where you can rent items to enhance your next special event, film or theatrical production. This is worth the stop for a fun antiquing adventure. For more information, visit their website.
Next up is Hodges Antiques. Located at 9990 GA Highway 67, the furniture inventory is always changing. Known for their finds of unique estate pieces, as well as their renovation work, Hodges is a place to check regularly as it has a loyal following. As one customer reports, “A ‘must visit’ shop outside of Statesboro. Great variety of accessories and furniture plus custom finishes in house.” Find them on Facebook.
Downtown Statesboro hosts several antique stores. Humble Abodes has opened at 39 West Main Street and has a large showroom showcasing antiques, furniture, home décor and more from the decades. They are specialists in “reincarnation” of furniture pieces, taking such items and refurbishing as well as turning them into something new all together. Vintage and Vine Antiques and Interiors at 21 East Vine Street has collectibles and furniture. Find them on Facebook.
Plunderosa is always a treat to walk through. They have a mix of old and new purchases at 64 E. Main Street. From mid-century to country style pine pieces, if you are in the market for some good buys, stop by. Heirloom Antique Store, located at 17 S. Main Street, has become a popular place to visit and follow on Facebook. The owner is great about posting pictures regularly of items he has “picked” and rehabbed. The appealing storefront on Highway 301 South delights travelers by rotating pieces that generate interest.
There are many other wonderful antique destinations in Statesboro, and it is important to know this area is a great destination for your “picking” pleasure. You never know what you will find by visiting these and other businesses in the Bulloch County community. So come see what’s in store for you!
Statesboro enjoys a thrust of visitors throughout football season, both high school and college. With seasons underway, the community will experience Friday night-lights at local high schools and Saturdays in Paulson Stadium, welcoming fans and the “competition” to area restaurants, hotels and activities. Schedules will keep weekends busy throughout September, October and November with possible championships in sight.
While stadiums are the likely destination, visitors should think ahead and make plans to enjoy any of the varied dining options available, add on a little shopping excursion, or see one of the many tourist attractions the area has to offer. Area hotels can accommodate your overnight needs comfortably and provide a home base for maximizing out an entire weekend’s worth of memories.
Tailgating is fun for all, and picking up some great eatables is easy. Well-known favorites in the area can provide b-b-q, fried chicken, wings and drinks to satisfy all. Bakeries offer sweets such as brownies, cookies and cupcakes to finish off with dessert.
Fan gear is popular throughout the local stores, in logo clothing items and accessories as well as color themed spirit wear. Showing team spirit never goes out of style!
As a football town, Statesboro takes pride in all its teams. Winning games and championships is definitely exciting, but the pulling together of boosters, families, students, athletes, community supporters, teachers and businesses through the game of football is a natural way of life that develops hometown pride. If you live here or are visiting to enjoy fall football, catch the enthusiasm for the sport that brings people together to cheer on their team. Whether your team wins or loses, remember it is not only how the game is played, but consider yourself welcomed where the game is played. And…come back soon!
South Georgia to Join the Ranks of American Soccer
(August 6, 2015) Statesboro is now officially a “minor-league” city, as the Premier Development League (PDL) has announced it will expand to Georgia for the 2016 season. The PDL is operated by the USL, the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league below Major League Soccer (MLS).
“The addition of Statesboro is another important step for the PDL as its profile continues to grow throughout the southeast,” PDL Director Todd Eason said. “With established clubs in the Carolinas, Florida, West Virginia, and Ohio, a club based in Statesboro, Georgia allows for further regionalization of a conference that already features some of the most competitive teams in the PDL.”
The only PDL franchise in Georgia will begin play in May with the start of the 2016 PDL season. The club will play its inaugural season on the campus of Georgia Southern University. The PDL season features a 14-game schedule with seven home games.
The new franchise is co-owned by Darin Van Tassell, owner of The Clubhouse and long-time administrator of several international sport organizations, and Jeremy Aven, Director of Coaching and Player Development for Storm Soccer Academy.
“Soccer is coming to play a vital role in the Statesboro and Savannah market, and this part of the state represents one of the fastest growing sources of soccer talent in the nation. For us, that’s a perfect combination. To be able to offer a minor-league sports experience in the summer for our community says so much about how our area has arrived. We’re excited for the opportunity and look forward to being a part of the PDL,” said Van Tassell. “The USL represents one of the top sports organization in North America, and the PDL is a league with a proven record of developing homegrown talent. Ultimately, we’d love to establish ourselves as a premier PDL franchise, ascend the USL ranks, and build a soccer facility locally that we can call our own.”
“I am unbelievably excited about the opportunity to be a part of the PDL,” Aven commented. “Savannah and Statesboro have experienced lots of growth on the youth side in the last five years, and I believe that such momentums will help to drive more growth not only in numbers but in the soccer culture here. I am proud to become a part of such a great organization and looking forward to all the excitement to come.”
The presence of elite soccer in the region has thus far been limited to the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I soccer teams at Georgia Southern University and the women’s NCAA program Armstrong Atlantic University in Savannah. GSU hosted the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament last year, and Georgia Soccer used Statesboro as its host site for the 2015 State Cup Final Four Championship in May 2015. The recent Final Four highlights the youth development efforts in the area that have been underway for several decades. The driving force of a PDL franchise in Statesboro was tremendously helped by the presence of local soccer clubs, particularly the Storm Soccer Academy. Camps, clinics, academy, select, and recreational teams are already established, and Statesboro currently is a host site to the elite Region III Premier League (RPL) games and National Premier League (NPL) games for youth soccer.
The new PDL franchise will have Storm Soccer Academy as one of its affiliations. Storm Soccer Academy was created in 2010 to service players who want to excel in soccer at the highest level. Its creation has provided many players with the opportunity to train locally and compete at the highest level regionally as they develop and graduate through the program. Storm SA seeks players who wish to reach their potential and are committed to seeking excellence through it’s specific technical curriculum.
The team is conducting a “Name the Team” contest through its newly launched website at www.statesboropdl.com, with the team logo and uniforms to be unveiled following the contest’s completion. The fan who submits the winning name will receive four season tickets to the inaugural season.
Announcements regarding the coaching staff will be made in the coming weeks. Players interested in trying out for the club will get their opportunity in late January.
Since its inception, the PDL’s chief goal has been to help develop players to play in the professional ranks. Among its alumni are current U.S. National Team players such as Brad Guzan, who was the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2004, and DeAndre Yedlin, who was an All-League selection in 2012. Other former PDL standouts, including Gyasi Zardes, Brad Evans, Tim Ream and Graham Zusi, were members of the United States’ squad for the 2015 Gold Cup, while up-and-coming players such as Matt Hedges, Sean Johnson, Darlington Nagbe and Andrew Farrell also previously starred in the league.
The league has also been the home for standout performers across Major League Soccer, including 2015 MLS All-Stars Dax McCarty of the New York Red Bulls, Kei Kamara of Columbus Crew SC and Tony Beltran of Real Salt Lake. The past four MLS Rookie of the Year selections have also been PDL alumni, the most recent being former Real Colorado Foxes forward Tesho Akindele of FC Dallas.
The league has consistently been a proving ground for top young North American players, with 70 percent of those selected in the MLS SuperDraft during the past six seasons having had PDL experience as they moved toward their professional careers.
Being “home grown” in Statesboro, Eagle Creek Brewing is Statesboro’s only craft beer production facility. It is located at 106 Savannah Avenue and hosts tours and tastings on Friday and Saturday nights at 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm for anyone over 21, many times featuring musical artists. The Low Country Ale, the Spot Tail Light Blonde Ale, Georgia Tea Party Amber Ale, Grass Roots Lemon Lime Hefeweizen and Puff’s Magic Dragon Dry Stout round out their regulars. Tours and tastings are the only time the brewery is open to the public.
In Georgia beer news, Governor Nathan Deal just signed into law new beer regulations allowing for take-home products starting later this summer. Growlers, six packs, glass souvenirs and other swag may be purchased at Eagle Creek Brewing Company with specific limitations on the take-away alcohol.
Another local business to visit is Southern Growlers, established in 2013 as the “Beer Filling Station” of Statesboro. Located at 514 S. Main Street across from Gnats Restaurant, this unique business in Statesboro features “the best fine beer collection in Southern Georgia.” It includes a full range of craft beers from about twenty regional and national craft breweries. Customers can visit the store with their growlers in hand and try a variety of choices on tap that rotate continuously. Hours are Mon – Friday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am – 10:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 pm. The store offers its own swag for the local beer enthusiast.
The young adult generations in particular have embraced craft beer, so being in a college town makes sense for these two craft beer businesses. Have no doubt, beer lovers of all ages appreciate the taste offered through beers that include flavors all across the board, from hoppy to citrus, light to heavy stouts. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy the opportunity to taste fresh, home grown beers as well as those throughout the region and the world right here in Statesboro, Georgia.
A live eagle at Georgia Southern University? Makes perfect sense as the long time mascot of the university. However, until 25 years ago, the idea never occurred to anyone.
“I cannot believe the announcer just called that Turkey Vulture a bald eagle. That’s not acceptable,” said Harry Mathews. That day at a GSU football game in 1990, an idea was born that would evolve into today’s Center for Wildlife Education. An outdoor enthusiast, GSU graduate and biology major, Harry made a pitch to bring a real bald eagle to campus as the official mascot. He felt it was important for students, staff and GSU supporters to recognize, respect and preserve the national bird. The concept met with interest, but the eagle would need a home and someone to care for it.
With Steve Hein at the helm, The Center for Wildlife Education has served as a leading environmental educational facility and tourism show stopper for over twenty years. Located on 17 acres within the GSU campus, the mission is to provide wildlife encounters for the 17,5000 school children and citizens of the region annually, as well as for visitors seeking a unique experience while in Statesboro.
Using wild animals to demonstrate their habitats, visitors learn about the species natural to this region of Georgia and the United States. Humans observe and even interact with the wildlife in their environment through programs and live demonstrations.
Children can immerse themselves during the summer in Junior Naturalist Camps entitled CHALLENGE 2015 “Survive the Wild.” Full of exciting events and teamwork, students will employ critical thinking skills that challenge young naturalists. Ages 6 – 13 years will learn about king snakes, alligators, hawks and eagles. With limited spaces available, be sure to register your youth now.
Check out weekday presentations during June, July and August (closed weekends); visitors should visit the Center’s website (http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/wildlife/visit/schedule/) to discover ongoing activities. This gem is worth the visit for all ages!
Listed as the #1 thing to do in Statesboro according to Trip Advisor, this clean, affordable and fun water park has a day of adventure waiting for you! Who better to listen to than travelers who have visited the park?
Annej from Savannah says, “Just an overall fun place to swim and all sorts of water things to play with like beach balls, etc. The water slide as well as the huge floating things to get on which take you through and down the little ‘streams’…the unexpected water squirts are thrilling.”
JugsBunnyBear from Savannah adds, “This water park is unbeatable when it comes to being family friendly. The toddler splash pad and play area is PERFECT for the 1-4 year old crowd. It allows for the young ones to have a great time and splash around in just a few inches of water without being trampled by the big kids.”
Ticket prices range from $6.00 – $12.00 and are based on height and time spent at the park. Children ages 2 and under are FREE. Discounted tickets are available for individuals with proof of Bulloch County residency, current military and Georgia Southern University & Ogeechee Tech staff and students. Picture ID is required to receive the discounts. Buy your tickets online and save time!
2015 Waterpark Season Passes are ON SALE NOW! Season Passes are $60 for the first pass, and each additional is $50. Special benefits and regulations apply. Drop by Splash in the Boro Aquatics Building or call 912-489-3000 to purchase yours. Cash, check, VISA, Mastercard and Discover cards are accepted. Group rates are available for making family and friends memories!
Hours vary, so refer to the Splash website at http://splashintheboro.com/plan/. Here you will find all kinds of great information about what to bring, where to stay, special news and events, highlights and attractions of the park. Be sure to check out the programs available, such as swimming and diving lessons, water aerobics, as well as the concessions available to meet your hunger needs.
When deciding where to fill your summer days, choose Splash in the Boro!
Contact: Heidi Jeffers, Statesboro Convention Visitors and Bureau
Highway 301 Becomes Georgia Grown Highway 301 Trail
South Georgia is one of the few areas remaining in the United States where there are miles of rural landscape, historic small towns, and abundant agricultural operations. The promotion of agri-tourism represents a readily available and effective tool to spur economic development in many communities.
The new Georgia Grown 301 Highway Trail winds through eight counties with many agri-tourism opportunities. The trail offers miles of family owned farms; and unique lodging; u-pick farms, farm stands, farm murals, and hands-on educational farm experiences; farm to table restaurants and establishments dedicated to preserving and sharing local recipes and traditions; and time honored and progressive crops and farming techniques.
The Georgia Grown Highway 301 Trail is a collaboration of representatives from eight counties in Georgia, extending from the South Carolina line, to the Florida line following Highway 301. The Georgia Grown Highway 301 Trail Association organizers and board members are: Latasha Roberts-Screven County Chamber of Commerce, Heidi Jeffers-Executive Director- Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tammi Hall-Executive Director Claxton/Evans County Chamber of Commerce, Linda Griffin-Glennville Chamber of Commerce, Don Melton-Long County Chamber of Commerce ,Frances Yeargan-Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Richard Thornton-Brantley County Development Authority, and Dawn Malin- Charlton County Chamber and Development Authority.
“Tourists will see that many of the trail’s stops are right here in Statesboro. They can visit the Garden of the Coastal Plain, one of the top 100 award winning farmers markets in Georgia, the unique blend of old and new experiences at Hunter Cattle, the majestic sunsets at the Meinhardt Winery and Vineyard, and so many more. Tourists will see Statesboro is the place to stop and stay a while,” said Heidi Jeffers, Executive Director, Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
From the beginning, the Georgia Grown Highway 301 Trail organizers developed a philosophy united to create a destination highway that highlights the Georgia Grown products along the corridor. The eight counties have worked over the past year to determine the best way to serve each area. This has produced outstanding results and positive energy. The joint effort from the group removed city and county lines to create one agri-tourism corridor.
Special thanks to our state representatives who serve the eight counties along the trail: Screven, Bulloch, Evans, Tattnall, Long, Wayne, Brantley and Charlton Counties who helped pass the resolution to form this exciting new tourism trail through Georgia.
Trail stops will include approved U-picks, unique farm experiences, vineyards and wineries, breweries, bed-and breakfast, RV parks, historical sites, unique shopping experiences, farmers markets, historical sites, state and federal parks, and locations selling Georgia grown items.