Friday, Dec. 27, 2019
Tifton, Georgia
Tift County is hosting the 2nd Annual Gnat Drop on New Year's Eve to mark the new year .

"Matt the Gnat" will drop at midnight Dec. 31/Jan. 1 to bring in 2020 . The event begins at 7 p.m. in front of Tift County's Charles Kent Administration Building on Tift Avenue . Live music and food vendors will be available.

Begun last year by County Commissioner Melissa Hughes , the Gnat Drop is Tift County's answer to other cities which drop various items to mark the new year at midnight. Atlanta has been dropping a giant peach since 1989 but isn't doing so this year as that event is being retooled.

The most famous such event is the crystal ball drop in New York City's Times Square.

While Tifton's Gnat Drop is in its infancy , Hughes expects it to be bigger and better each year.

This year's entertainment includes Kasey King, Soulful Serenades, Blak Pearl and Harold E. Thomas & Danger Zone .

Hughes encourages families to come out New Year's Eve and to bring their lawn chairs to enjoy the event.
The 10th Annual McDonald’s Tifton Invitational basketball tournament opens today, Friday, Dec. 27 , and continues through Saturday, Dec. 28 , at the Tift County High School gym.

Sponsored by the local McDonald's franchise, this year's tourney brings together 13 teams, including the Tift County High Blue Devils , from Georgia and Florida .

Today's schedule begins at 1 p.m. with Morgan County High facing off against J.S. Rickards High of Tallahassee , followed by Coffee County High vs. Kathleen High at 2:30 p.m. ; Brunswick vs. Lincoln , 4 p.m. ; Denmark vs. Victory Christian , 5:30 p.m. ; Valwood vs. St. Anne-Pacelli , 7 p.m. ; and Tift County vs. Americus-Sumter , 8:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Dec. 28 , the lineup is: Morgan County vs. Lincoln, 1 p.m. ; Brunswick vs. Victory Christian , 2:30 p.m. ; Denmark vs. Lanier County, 4 p.m.; Coffee vs. Rickards , 5:30 p.m. ; and Tift County vs. Kathleen , 7 p.m.
Both Tift Count y and the state of Georgia hit historic lows in the unemployment rate during November , according to data from the Ga. Department of Labor.

In preliminary figures, the Labor Department reports that the jobless rate in Tift County was 2.8 percent in November , a decline from 3.1 percent during October , and a major drop from 3.5 percent at the same time last year .

Other counties in the Tiftarea also saw less joblessness except for Ben Hill County , whose jobless rate remained steady at 5 percent.

Worth County had unemployment of 3 percent, down from 3.5 percent; Cook County , 3.1 percent; down from 3.2 percent; Turner , 3.2 percent, down from 3.5 percent; Irwin , 3.9 percent; down from 4.3 percent; and Berrien , 4.3 percent, down from 4.5 percent.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the state's unemployment rate was at a historically low level as the state set records for employment, jobs and the work force .
Labor wise, November was one of the best months in state history , Butler said.
Georgia’s unemployment rate fell in November by 0.1 percentage points to 3.3 percent – the lowest since the federal government began keeping records in 1976
Nationally , the unemployment rate fell in November to 3.5 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points.
These two siblings are new at the shelter. They are a young, friendly and playful pair seeking a good home for the new year.

Visit them at the Tift County Animal Shelter, 1-6 p.m., Mondays-Fridays, 
at 278 Ga. Highway 125 South in Tifton.


  • Depot Festival of Trees, 8 a.m., The Depot, Adel
  • McDonald's Tifton Invitational Basketball Tournament, 1 p.m., Tift County High School, Tifton
  • Blood Drive, 1 p.m., Tift Regional Events Center, Carpenter Road, Tifton


  • McDonald's Tifton Invitational Basketball Tournament, 1 p.m., Tift County High School, Tifton
  • Christmas Hayride, 7:30 p.m., Ga. Veterans State Park, Cordele
DEC. 19
Charles Warren Housworth, 84, Tifton
Rosie Inez Hall, 91, Sylvester
Melba Satterfield, Cordele
Edwin Matthew "E.M." Mathis Jr., 100, Quitman
Allen Collins, 68, Valdosta

DEC. 20
Vasti “Ty” Parrish Hobbs, 76, Tifton
  Doris "Lee" Dillard, 67, Tifton
Juanita Elizabeth Kirkland, 92, Albany
Margaret Ann Barton, 67, Nashville
Grace Griffin Bryant, 99, Fitzgerald
Oliver Wayne Paul, 60, Irwin County
Raymond Duenas, 72, Powder Springs
Geraldine Dixon, 75, Nashville

DEC. 21
Paula Blanchard Jordan, 66, Chula
Jeffrey Wade Bowen, 40, Sylvester
Travis David Apperson, 92, Ashburn
Herman Rowe, 81, Valdosta
Theresa Pitts, 61, Smithville

DEC. 22
Montifa Spradley Sims, 73, Tifton
Elizabeth Freeland Fish, 76, Nashville
Angela Kay Hutchinson, 55, Ocilla

DEC. 23
Lonie Bell Gilbert, 87, Nashville
David Doss Gibbs, 61, Fitzgerald
Romell Harper McCoy, 84, Ocilla

DEC. 24
Mary Bea Watson Powell, 83, Sylvester
Silas M. Tomberlin, 86, Ty TY
Debra Ann Baillie, 61, Broxton

DEC. 25
Christine Melton Kilcrease, 75, Sylvester
Berry A. Carter, 82, Lenox
Virginia Sapp, 88, Quitman


Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC , Tifton, Georgia