Oct. 3, 2014
     Tifton Georgia

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Approximately 90,000 people are expected to visit this year's Sunbelt Agricultural Expo during Oct. 14-16 in Moultrie, filling up motels and restaurants throughout the Tiftarea.

This 37th annual expo, which began in Tifton, has been crowned as North America's premier farm show and the largest one in the United States. More than 1,200 exhibitors will display and demonstrate products at the 100-acre show site.

This year, Georgia is the "Spotlight State;" Georgia's exhibit, called "Always in Season," is housed in a newly constructed building showcasing the state's No. 1 industry.


A highlight of the three-day show will be the announcement of the Swisher Sweet/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award as 10 state winners vie for the title. The winner will be named during the Annual Willie Withers Expo luncheon when agricultural leaders across the South convene to honor the winners.

There's never a dull moment during the Expo with the daily Antique Tractor Parade, the American Grand Finals Stock Dog Trials, equine demonstrations, a Milking Contest between state agriculture commissioners. a visit by Andy Schneider -- "the Chicken Whisperer " -- and the Peterson Brothers singing group.


Georgia agriculture's farm gate value totals almost $13 billion annually, according to the University of Georgia. Part of Georgia's Sunbelt exhibit this year will include a mural that spans more than 60 feet and depicts the state's agricultural diversity. Of the more than 60 commodities Georgia farms, poultry production leads the way with a total of 33 percent of the state's annual farm gate value. Georgia also specializes in cotton, peanuts and beef production, and leads the country in peanut production, UGA says.



Longtime local musician and entrepreneur John Hicks has recorded an album of his original songs with many of his area musician friends accompanying him.


His CD, "John Hicks and Friends," has recently been released. Hicks will have the public debut of the album today and Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4, at the Lamplighter Pub in Tifton. Hicks and friends will be performing songs from the CD as well as other music at the CD release party.


"The Pub was one of the first local places I ever played," Hicks said. "You might say I've come full circle."


Hicks has been playing guitar music since he was 15 years old. Some of his songs on the album were written as far back as the 1980s.


"I've always heard that you're not supposed to die with your music still in you," Hicks said, noting that he had a health scare a couple of years ago -- a blood clot, which is what killed his father. "It was enough to get my attention," he said. "I had always meant to get around to recording these songs. It was always, 'Someday I'll...' "


During the past 25 years, Hicks has played in several local bands, including the Eldorado Band with Joe Ball and with the Mood Docs. Through those associations, he has made many musician friends.


Hicks' album was recorded at Joey Hall's Studio 82 in Brookfield. Hicks said recoding a CD was a long labor of love: "I respect anybody who's finished a CD," he said.


Hicks said his music can't be classified within any one genre: "It's a variety from country to rock, blues and ballads - with a touch of R&B and a touch of jazz."


Among the musicians who play on the album are Hicks' family: wife Jessica, daughter Danielle and son Bo. Also playing are Josh Morrison, John Morrison, Joe Ball, Lee Burgess, David Wilson, Jack Olliff, Andy Martin, Joel Dixon, Selena Woodall, Ace Anderson, Mark York, Steve Barrow, Kent Dowling, and Kenny Ray. The CD cover, liner notes and packaging were designed by Frank Sayles Jr. of Sayles Unlimited Marketing.


The CD release party/jam at the Lamplighter Pub will begin at about 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights with no cover charge. The new CD will be available at a special price at the event.




The Pumpkin Patch and Crop Maze at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture opens Saturday, Oct. 4. Brody Chason, above, takes a look at his options. He is the son of David and Jasmine Chason of Pooler and the grandson of Mike and Kris Chason of Tifton.


Austin French of Tifton, ABC-TV's "Rising Star" first runner-up, performs on the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College campus today and Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4. The performances begin at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium. The concert will benefit the Ag Business Club.


In his debut Tifton concert since his recent fame on "Rising Star," French will perform with a live band handpicked for this event. He won votes of viewers during his 10-week run on the show and finished as the first runner-up. The Cordele native resides in Tifton with his new wife, Joscelyn, and serves as the worship pastor for Tifton's Journey Church.


Proceeds from the concert will help fund travel for the ABAC Ag Business Club.


Tickets available online through For information, call 229-391-5068 or

                                      At a Glance.... 



  • Austin French benefit concert, 7 p.m., Howard Auditorium, ABAC, Tifton.
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football vs. Lee County, 7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton.
  • Tiftarea Academy Panthers football at Westwood, 7:30 p.m., Camilla.
  • John Hicks CD Release Party/Jam, 8 p.m., Lamplighter Pub, Tifton.
  • Downtown Tifton Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Old Train Platform, Tifton.
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Georgia Museum of Agriculture Tifton.
  • Austin French benefit concert, 7 p.m., Howard Auditorium, ABAC, Tifton. 
  • John Hicks CD Release Party/Jam, 8 p.m., Lamplighter Pub, Tifton.

In Memoriam


Sept. 25

M. Dillard Rosser, 88, Winter Park, Fla.

Leatha Oragene Leonard, 88, Avondale Estates

Sept. 26

Vickie Dianne Riddle Bowen, 62, Austell 

Allie Railey Mixon, 86, Ocilla 


Sept. 27

William E. "Bill" Whitney, 74, Albany 


Sept. 28

Cecil L. Vaughn, 88, Cordele

Gloria Jean Wilkerson Robinson, 65, Tifton

Mary Magdeline Nix, 97, Nashville 


Sept. 29

Dr. Emmett Newell Pope, 91, Tifton 

Mattie Coffee Johnson, 94, Willacoochee 


Sept. 30

Shirley Ann Nelms, 76, Nashville 

Damon Cecil Ross, 69, Ocilla 


Oct. 2

Billy Sawyer, 62, Abbeville

Jozette Moore Morgan, 80, Nashville




This home has it all: Large waterfront lot on a lake that is known for great fishing; in-ground pool surrounded by cool decking; view from backyard is beautiful; brick exterior; architectural shingle roof that is only 3 years old; formal living and dining room, step down den, updated kitchen. Enclosed porch lined with all new windows gives additional lounging area with tiled floors when entering from pool. All new windows through out all of home. Updated master bathroom with tiled shower and double sinks. Master bedroom that also boasts built-in drawers and storage in wall. Updated hall bath has tiled shower and jacuzzi tub.Large bedrooms and large living areas. Water is county water, but a deep well is also included and functional. Several outside storage buildings to secure belongings. This beautuful home and amenities are just 10 minutes out in the country from Tifton. Make your appointment to see this home today. 

Dwana Coleman
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