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Vidalia Porchfest Is Coming!

Vidalia will host its first ever Porchfest walking and music festival this March, as a celebration of community and local talents.

Years ago in Ithaca, New York, neighbors Lesley Greene and Gretchen Hildreth had an idea. What if there was an afternoon when porches all over the neighborhood became stages and everyone just meandered from yard to yard, listening, hanging out, and connecting and reconnecting with their neighbors? Thus Porchfest, the ultimate grassroots music festival, was born. Completely resident owned and operated, the movement has been going and growing every year since. Other neighborhoods in cities big and small, all around the country and even the world, have taken the model and run with it, including Athens, Brunswick, and Decatur in Georgia.

Soon, The Altama Museum of Art & History with Jackson Heights Neighborhood Association will add Vidalia to that growing list and launch an inaugural Vidalia Porchfest on Saturday, March 25.

To make sure this event was right for Toombs County, a delegation from the Vidalia Porchfest committee, made up of Altama Trustees, Jackson Heights Neighborhood Association members, and others interested in participating, recently attended Brunswick’s event in November. 'The warm feeling of the neighborly venue completely took me in,” said committee chair, Wes Chapman. “I immediately knew that our area would thoroughly enjoy such an event.'

Equal parts community- building endeavor and celebration of music and the Arts, Vidalia Porchfest is planned as a familyfriendly, organic, walking festival, free to all who wish to attend. Performances will take place on porches and in yards within a six-block area of the historic Jackson Heights neighborhood along Center Drive and Durden Street, between Third and Seventh Streets. Organizers, block captains, performers, porch hosts, and others all participate as volunteers and all give freely of their time, talents, resources, and hospitality as a gift to the community and to each other.

Anyone who would like to share their talents with the community is encouraged to perform, and a variety of acts are sought including musical, dramatic, storytelling, or comedy. As the event is all about giving freely of talents and resources, no performer is paid, but all are welcome to put out a tip jar or sell their music and merchandise.

The Altama Museum will serve as the hub for the event. Attendees are encouraged to picnic or enjoy grab-and-go offerings of local food vendors and relax under the pavilion at the rear of the building. A sidewalk artisan market on the grounds will showcase the talents of visual artisans and craftspersons.

Attendees are encouraged to park their vehicles in designated lots and walk the festival if able. In addition to reducing traffic around more vulnerable visitors, this also ensures that those who absolutely do have to drive, such as those with disabilities, can find adequate parking in close proximity to where things are happening.

“In keeping with the event spirit of ‘radical generosity,’ sponsors and volunteers of all kinds are needed to help make the event happen,” said Ann Owens, committee member. “The more folks who take ownership of it, the better it will showcase the best of what our area can be. We hope you’ll join us!” While the event is free to attend, sponsorships are being sought to help offset costs associated with producing the event.

More information about the event, including registration for event sponsors, hosts, performers, and market participants, can be found at The Altama Museum website ( or on social media @VidaliaPorchfest. Questions may also be directed to Jennifer Martinez, museum director, at 912537-1911.

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