Friday, March 4, 2022
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton's Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival mascot “Squealbur," at left,
has been updated this year by a younger, hipper version.
Could it be his cousin “Squealvis"?
Tifton Grapevine
Get ready to "party under the pines" at Fulwood Park: The Tifton Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival returns this weekend.

A full day of music, food, and fun is set for 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday at the park, and a festival kickoff party begins tonight (Friday) with the County Line Band at 6 p.m. and the Tyler Neal Band at 8 p.m. on the park's Syd Blackmarr Stage.

Admission is free to the festival, which attracts nearly 15,000 people. A total of 31 professional barbecue teams from Georgia and surrounding states will be vying for trophies and prize money in the pro barbecue-cooking competition, sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association.

Another 34 "backyard barbecue" amateur teams will be competing for trophies, cash prizes and bragging rights.

“Our prize money for both the professional and backyard competitions are among the best in Georgia. The festival has been recognized statewide as one of the best events in our region, and we’re looking forward to another great year," said Angela M. Elder of the Tifton-Tift County Tourism Association.

Professional teams will be competing for the Grand Champion trophy and $3,000 in prize money. The Reserve Champion will win $1,500 and a trophy, while the top 10 in each category will receive cash prizes.

In the backyard competition, the Grand Champion will receive $1,200 and a trophy. Added this year is a Backyard Reserve Champion who will receive $600 and a trophy. Cash prizes are also awarded to the top five finishers in each category.

In both competitions, participants will compete in pork loin, pulled pork, and ribs categories.

At this year's event, The Food Network will be on site filming for a new show to debut this summer. The TV network will be following a few teams as they compete and will also feature the Tifton community and festival. 

This year is also the 150th anniversary of Tifton's settlement, and an aerial community photo is scheduled to be taken at 5 p.m. Saturday in front of the main stage.
Musical entertainment continues all day Saturday, co-headlined by Hannah Dasher and the Legendary JC’s on the Coca-Cola (Syd Blackmarr) main stage. Dasher, a recording artist and TikTok celebrity, performs at 6:30 p.m. A UGA graduate, she lives in Nashville, Tenn., and is fresh off the road with Reba McEntire.

The Legendary JC’s will close out the night, taking the stage at 8:30 p.m. This is the band’s second time on the main stage at Rhythm & Ribs. They are known for wowing the crowd with their brand of soulful rocking blues. The Legendary JC’s consist of several top central Florida musicians.

Musical entertainment begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with Derrick Dove and the Peacekeepers, followed by the Pine Box Dwellers at 12:15 p.m., Scott Warren & the Booze Mountaineers at 2:30 p.m., and Lizz Faith at 5 p.m. On Friday night, the Kickoff Party features the County Line Band at 6 p.m., and the Tyler Neal Band at 8 p.m. 
Entertainment will also be available Saturday on the Community Stage, and there will be chainsaw carving, animal and educational displays by Chehaw Park, and a strolling magician, King Chapman.

More than 100 vendors will fill the park, and a KidZone will include inflatables, water balls and the spider jump. Chaos, the mechanical bull, will also be back for those who dare.
Tifton Grapevine
The City of Tifton said Thursday it is "open to conversations regarding finding a possible alternative solution for parking" commercial trucks within the city after some residents raised concerns following a recent social media post by the Tifton Police Department.

In its recent post, the Police Department reiterated the city ordinance prohibiting commercial trucks from parking overnight in residential areas.

The city released a statement Thursday saying it "recognizes the importance of the commercial driving industry and the work of commercial truck drivers,
and we apologize if the recent educational piece posted by the Tifton Police Department caused any confusion or concerns."

In its statement, the city said that Tifton has "a long-standing ordinance on the books that addresses 'Truck Routes' and 'Weigh Limits,' which is common in most cities, especially for residential areas. This particular ordinance is meant to be a guide and lists specifics related to trucks and regulations. 

"The police department does field numerous calls about semis in the middle of neighborhoods and the noise they create late at night or early in the morning.  Other complaints are usually from a safety standpoint for children or pedestrian traffic," the city said.

"In responding to local residential complaints, it is common practice of the City of Tifton Police Department to educate the operator of the truck, provide a warning outlining the rules, and to offer possible solutions about parking their truck outside of the residential area in the future. In some cases, the police officer finds that the operator was unaware of such information."

The city said it realizes that finding suitable parking is "difficult at times, and that is why we try to balance enforcing the rules with any local trucking professionals and the local residents who complain about the interruption of their quality of life for specific residential areas."

The city's statement noted that "because of the weight demands for truck combinations, it is critical that we try to preserve our pavement on secondary streets that may not be suitable for excess weights, as well as protect shallow water and sewer lines that could be damaged or lead to a safety situation."   

With Tifton being in the "center of three main GDOT (Ga. Department of Transportation) roadways, Tifton/Tift County is fortunate to have a few major truck stops that offer many amenities for trucks and their drivers, and we welcome the movement of commercial traffic through Tifton along the designated routes," the city said.  

"For those drivers who may reside in the City of Tifton, we are open to conversations regarding finding a possible alternative solution for parking." 
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County's positive COVID-19 cases continue to drop, totaling 54 during the past two weeks, according to data Thursday from the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

The total positive cases represent confirmed and probable results from both PCR and Antigen rapid tests. Tift County’s total positive cases represent 132 cases per 100,000 population, the measure used across the country to compare case rates among communities and states.

Confirmed cases were 22, and Tift's testing positivity rate for the period was 11.8%, the DPH reported. An additional eight confirmed cases and two related deaths were reported in the past week among Tift County residents.

Tift has seen a total of 6,261 cases with 162 related deaths, the DPH said.

On Thursday, the state reported 1,241 new confirmed and probable cases across Georgia with 99 additional deaths and 138 new related hospitalizations. The state has recorded a total of 1,913,823 confirmed cases and 29,991 related deaths, the DPH said.
Tifton Grapevine
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Georgia State Patrol, GSP Capt. Rusty Harrelson told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday. 

“We pride ourselves on our core values: Trust, Compassion, Fortitude, and Professionalism,” he said.

“We cross paths with a lot of people every day. We want troopers to go about being kind and polite to people.” 

Harrelson said only 45% of applicants complete the rigorous training necessary to become a trooper. The training is 33 weeks long, and potential troopers are paid during the training. A new pilot school lasts 13 weeks for POST-certified applicants. 

“Our numbers are down,” he said. For instance, Harrelson said there were 95 troopers in Valdosta in the late 1990s. Now there are 50 troopers for 19 counties. This includes eight troopers in Tifton covering three counties – Tift, Cook, and Berrien. The pay is climbing, however.

“This is a profession. It takes professionals to do it.” Starting salary for cadets in school is $48,000 a year. When they graduate, and work for 18 months, completing more training, pay goes up to about $53,000

The Georgia State Patrol was founded in 1937 to be a support agency for local communities and sheriff’s departments. Some of the bigger counties have large sheriff’s departments that don’t need the GSP as much as smaller counties.

“Smaller counties count on us to work accidents or help with traffic,” he said. 

Among the work they do includes a SWAT team, such as when a gunman is barricaded in a building or a hostage situation; dealing with fatal accidents; and responding to natural disasters, such as a tornado.

“We’re there for the duration,” he said. 

They focus on are DUIs, speeding, distracted driving, and occupant protection.

In the Tifton GSP Post last year, Harrelson said, troopers worked 1,004 crashes in Tift, Cook and Berrien. It the past year, they stopped almost 14,000 cars. They locked up 315 DUIs. They wrote 10,547 tickets and issued more than 9,000 warnings; they made almost 5,000 stops on the Interstate, many involving people texting and driving, or not wearing seatbelts.

Harrelson said some situations have changed through the years: He remembers when the GSP had three high-speed pursuits within five years. Now, they have had more than 100 high-speed pursuits in a year. 
He said he asks troopers to park in a school parking lot to write up their reports, thereby serving as a deterrent.

“I like for our troopers to be involved in their communities. I want them to coach Little League baseball; I want them to be involved in their churches; I want them to be involved in civic clubs; I want people in the community to see their faces,” he said.

Harrelson also serves as a member of the Tift County Board of Education.
Tifton, being the acknowledged Reading Capital of the World, has a new exhibit, "The ART of Reading," opening Sunday at the Tifton Museum of Arts and Heritage.

The public is invited to the opening reception from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, where prizes will be awarded to some of the 33 artworks from both local artists and from artists around the country.

"The show is the backdrop and highlight for a three-week celebration of the joy and importance of reading," organizers said in a written statement.

The multimedia exhibit celebrates reading through various art forms, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, collages, mixed media, and digital art.

Sunday's opening reception is followed by a series of events throughout the month, including readings by local authors and children's activities. A listing of all events can be found here.

The exhibit is open from noon-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 1-3 p.m. Sundays through March 27.
Twenty-one contestants will compete in the 52nd annual Ms. ABAC contest March 10 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Sponsored by the ABAC Agripreneurs, the theme of this year’s pageant is “Golden Moments.” The winner will receive a $500 academic scholarship.

The event begins at 7 p.m. in ABAC’s Howard Auditorium. Admission is $10. Because of limited seating, advance ticket purchase is advised. Tickets may be purchased by calling 229-391-4807.

Contestants will compete in casual and evening wear, and will also be judged on a written essay and an interview with the judges. Kenny and Kristen Smith, both ABAC alumni, will provide a second academic scholarship worth $500 to the winner of the interview portion of the event.

Students competing in this year's pageant are:

Madison Adams from Norwood; Jazzmyn Armstrong from Reidsville; Lauren Brenneman from Tifton; Annie Bradley from LaGrange; Jennifer Brinton from Newnan; Carsen Jane Carter from Willacoochee; Cierra Cleveland from Griffin; Emily Edwards from Griffin; Delaney Garcia from Albany.

Also, Danielle Griffin from Moultrie; Emily Groat from Ruskin, Fla.; Charleigh Harper from Nashville; Emma Jagus from McDonough; Molly McKettrick from Arcadia Fla.; Molly Parris from Hampton; Noel Plunkett from Jefferson; Emily Staton from Tifton.

Also, Taylor Thom from Newnan; Brianna Turchiano from Windermere, Fla.; Maggie Yates from Myakka City, Fla.; and Abigail Zerwig from Metter.
Music will come alive through an animated-painting concert experience – “The Landscape of Guitar” – at 7 p.m. March 15 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s Howard Auditorium.

Master guitarist Bruce Hecksel and singer-songwriter Julie Patchouli will combine visual art and sound as part of the ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series.

One reviewer said the duo delivers “the guitars of the Gipsy Kings, the harmony of Simon and Garfunkel, and the colors of Van Gogh.”

Each song in the performance includes vivid art with high-definition animation seamlessly synced to the melodies. This animation features paintings that personify the music in whimsical scenes, creating an experience for the senses.

Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 229-391-4895. Tickets will also be available at the door.  
Vintage 41 Antiques & More
221 Main St., Tifton
March 2
Hargray Fiber has announced plans to expand the company's fast, state-of-the art, all-fiber Internet network into residential neighborhoods in Tifton.

The company began serving businesses in the Tifton area in 2020, and the expansion into residential areas is part of Hargray Fiber's long-term goal to bring the service to more than 500,000 homes and businesses across the United States by 2027

Hargray Fiber CEO David Armistead said the company is "excited to extend services to Tifton, and we look forward to becoming long-term partners to the community."

"This is exciting news for Tifton, Tift County, and its residents, and we are honored to be part of the growing list of cities in Hargray Fiber's service area," said Tifton City Manager Pete Pyrzenski

"This extension of residential service will complement the connection to businesses recently offered to our community. We welcome Hargray Fiber's investment as a means of helping Tifton enhance its overall capabilities to keep up with today's connectivity demands," the city manager said.

Hargray Fiber is scheduled to begin construction in Tifton during May.
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Today, Friday, March 4, is National Grammar Day when the use of correct grammar in both verbal and written language is encouraged. According to the Global Language Monitor, the estimated number of words in the English language is 1,025,109, which keeps changing. In honor of the day, here is a "dad joke": "What extinct animal knew a lot of words?" Answer: The thesaurus, of course!
  • Tiftarea YMCA Father-Daughter Dance, 5:30 p.m., 8 p.m., First Baptist Church Ministry Center, Tifton
  • Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival Kickoff Party, 6-10 p.m., Fulwood Park, Tifton
  • 'Home Free' in concert, 8 p.m., UGA Campus Conference Center, Tifton

  • Ga. Boys Paradise Public Fishing Area Open, 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Paradise PFA, 536 Paradise Drive, Enigma
  • Horse Creek Wine Run 5K, 9 a.m., Horse Creek Winery, Sparks
  • Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Fulwood Park, Tifton

  • ''The Art of Reading" opening reception, 1-3 p.m., Tifton Museum of Arts & Heritage, Tifton
  • Ga. Baptist Evangelism Conference: The Southern Regions, 5 p.m., First Baptist Church, Tifton
"Rusty," a cute male pooch, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 South between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055  

Mattiann Eason Hobby, 81, Tifton
James Wade “Jimmy” Kilpatrick, 67, Tifton
Lashawn Laurice Smith, 48, Sycamore
Floyd Junior Jacobs, 59, Alapaha
Eudene Lott Kendall, 89, Nashville

Charles “Chuck” Warren Singletary, 52, Grayson
Eliese Holbrook McBrayer, 88, Tifton
James P. Walker, 82, Tifton
Amy Leigh Ferguson, 37, Worth County
Cathene R. Padgett, 82, Anna, Texas, formerly of Fitzgerald

Erma Faye Cravey Wood, 97, Tifton
Effie Youghn Purvis, 90, Washington, formerly of Tifton
Fredrick “Freddie” Will Baldree, 55, Lenox
Ashton Elizabeth Flynt, 37, Tifton
Harry Russell Harrelson, 80, Adel
Ruby Carter Harrod, 75, Ray City
Rodney James Hostetler, 73, Fitzgerald
Maurine Williams, 96, Sycamore
George Raymond Lisenby, 82, Lenox
Joseph Cerfus, 80, Tifton

Russell “Russ” Milton Thomson, 81, Tifton
Tommie Day Smith, 78, Tifton
Elton Lawrence Beck, 85, Worth County
Addie Lee Jackson Wilcox, 96, Tifton
Alice June Jones, 83, Ashburn
Betty Ann Weeks, 79, Adel
William Grady "Wise" Chambers III, 44, Georgia
Melvin C. Ball, 81, Fitzgerald
Kara Marie Maxwell, 26, Tifton
Kenneth Edghill, 53, Tifton
Richard N. English, 69, Georgia

James "Larry" Bryan, 74, Tifton
Earnest "Neal" O'Neal Denham, 84, Sylvester
John Franklin Porter, 88, Poulan
Roger E Neal, 70, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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