Editorial: Saturday's 'JeanneFest' kicks off summer of music, family fun

There will be much to celebrate on Saturday at the Burr Performing Arts Park in downtown Dalton.

Among those things to celebrate are warmer weather, friendship, community, music and Jeanne Burr — the park's benefactor. The third annual "JeanneFest" is from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the 1.1-acre park in the middle of downtown at 101 S. Hamilton St. The event is free and open to the public. There will be other activities and food vendors.

JeanneFest is named for the longtime Daltonian and arts proponent who helped make the park a reality. In 2016, Burr donated $1 million to the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia for the building and maintenance of the park. The park opened and was dedicated in May 2017. Saturday's celebration also kicks off the Burr Park entertainment series, which features singers and bands performing there through the summer.

“JeanneFest is a celebration of all the things that make Dalton itself so great — music, food, the arts, culture, acceptance, fellowship and more,” said David Aft, president of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia. “As usual, Jeanne Burr is the centerpiece of our celebration and will greet festival-goers with her bright, vivacious smile. It’s a great opportunity to thank her again for her generosity and vision. There would be no park without the incredible Jeanne Burr.”

While Burr will be recognized Saturday, the main attraction is the arts.

Music City Soul Breakers, which plays a blend of classic and modern music, will perform, as will The Songbirds, a local gospel group that will sing the hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." Daltonian Anthony Johnson “A.J.” Showalter composed the hymn, which was published in 1887. His former music publishing company stood on the site now known as Burr Park, while the park's Showalter Stage is a nod to the composer.

Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets as seating is limited. They are also encouraged to wear "their funkiest sunglasses," as Burr has been known to wear unique shades.

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