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10th Annual Peachtree Corners Festival Returns

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Mark your calendars for September 18 and 19 for the 10th Annual Peachtree Corners Festival, featuring food, fun, art, music and everything in between. Hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 12-5 p.m. Sunday. The festival has relocated to Peachtree Corners Town Green to allow for adequate spacing and free parking. The festival is free to attend as well.

According to the team’s mission statement at peachtreecornersfestival.com, the Peachtree Corners Festival is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to bringing a safe, family-friendly festival to the city of Peachtree Corners. To the extent that the festival experiences positive cash flow, the funds will be dedicated to supporting the areas of education and beautification. The festival brings together community leaders and civic-minded individuals with the simple goal to show pride in our fair city.

Debbie Mason, “The First Lady of Peachtree Corners” (through her marriage to Mayor Mike Mason), currently serves as the festival’s Vice President. She expressed hope that even though the date and location of the festival has changed, things will be able to progress as normally as possible and should be able to do so unless anything changes with health regulations.

“We are just thrilled to be able to start it up again and people are recovered and out and about, chomping at the bit to get out,” Mason said. “And we want to help them do that and do it safely.”

“The aspect that I enjoy the most about being a part of the festival organization is walking around the grounds while the event is going on and seeing the thousands of people out enjoying themselves with the food, music, and arts and crafts that we offer,” said Peachtree Corners Festival President Dave Huffman. “Working with the vendors is enjoyable too. They have such great attitudes and are easy to get along with.”

The atmosphere of this year’s festival might differ slightly, partly due to its shifting into early fall and partly due to its move from The Corners Office Park to the Town Green at Peachtree Corners Town Center. The central location and popularity of the Town Green make it “a no brainer.” Though the Town Green is approximately 20% smaller in area than the previous festival site, Huffman shared that the team is excited about the change and that they “all feel that this may very well be the best and most attended festival in our 10 years.”

That said, Huffman has had to play a bit of table Tetris, with the unenviable task of fitting square booths into a largely oval space. That basically boils down to a more selective group of vendors and exhibitors. On the positive side, almost all activity will be concentrated in one contained space, as opposed to being stretched out over a quarter-mile of road, as in years past.

Music

The entertainment lineup will be extensive and offers something for every taste. Music lovers can look forward to returning favorites as well as new talent.

On tap for the weekend (in no particular order):

Banks and Shane — Hard-kicking, blow-the-roof off band that has had capacity crowds around the world dancing in the aisles to party favorites and reminiscing with memorable ballads. 7 p.m. Saturday at the Main Stage.

Double Take — High-energy rock ’n’ roll group playing the biggest and best rock, dance and party tunes from the ’80s…music’s greatest decade.

Stone Mountain Chorus — Vocal A Capella, a member chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. They are a show chorus and a competition chorus.

Casual Cadenza

Casual Cadenza — Jam band playing feel good music.

Greg Drews and the Truth —Atlanta-based songwriter Greg Drews crafts vocal-driven American Roots music with an abundance of warmth and space. His songs blend the recline of California Roots Rock, harmonies of Southern Appalachian Soul and the gentle swagger of the Texas Troubadours…all echoes of time spent living in those locales.

Greg Drews and the Truth

The Dial Up — High-energy covers transport listeners back to a decade where their CD collections defined them. Join in on a musical journey of rock, grunge, pop-punk and Brit-pop.
Separate Checks — An Atlanta based Alt Rock/Indie Rock band.

Schools in the area will also have a dedicated block of time to allow their band, chorus or dance teams the opportunity to perform on stage. Most, if not all, music and other performances can be viewed from the main music stage and surrounding areas. Check the festival website for updates on times and performances.

Cars, Bikes, and All that Shines

Saturday, September 18 will feature a Car & Bike Show full of hot rods and sleek interiors, taking place at the Hexagon parking lot near the roundabout. It’s no charge for spectators, but on-site participants will need to pay a $15 registration fee. The most impressive choppers and roadsters will receive Top Car & Bike awards and Top Class trophies. The festivities will include featured guests and trained judges, as well as a deejay, food and door prizes.

And on Sunday, September 19, a new must-see event comes to the festival as the Georgia Concours d’Elegance exhibits a number of high-end classic vehicles. Concours d’Elegance will be highlighting a very special ‘Sneak Peek’ of what’s to come in 2022 here in the Atlanta area — with a selection of Highline classic and regional collectibles, including local resident Ivan Ruiz’s gorgeous 1952 Jaguar XK120.

Whether you consider yourself a ‘car person’ or not, there is no denying that the beauty and elegance of a rare collection of vintage or classic motor vehicles just might stop you in your tracks! They can inspire feelings of nostalgia and awe when viewing firsthand the exquisite craftsmanship that has resulted from decades of care and often exact restoration. Those are the types of automobiles found on display in famous Concours d’Elegance events worldwide, from Goodwood and Hampton Court in the UK to Pebble Beach and Amelia Island in the US.

The beauty of a true Concours unites the local community with enthusiasts nationwide through the unique level of emotion and nostalgia that touches everyone’s life in some way. Enjoy this small collection exemplifying the history and artistry that is shared through these preserved and restored cars, and hopefully the Concours can share more in 2022.

Exhibitors

Get your shop on and support local business owners and artisans at the same time. The Peachtree Corners Festival has an incredible list of vendors with just about anything you might want, from aromatic offerings to unique gifts. The full vendor list can be found on the festival website but take a look at a curated sampling.

A Bar W Enterprises — Handmade leather purses, keychains, jewelry and more. Founded by Angela Corbin and Wesley Burt in 2017, A Bar W Enterprises has continued to grow and expand its offerings. Angela and Wesley seek to bring attractive, practical works of art that provide a solution to our everyday, and sometimes not so everyday, needs.

Geometals/Metro Décor — Creative ceramic decorative light switches. These switch plates are more like textured tile works of art that just happen to turn the lights on! Each light switch or cabinet knob is carved and textured by hand and then gilded with metal oxides to achieve a vibrant result.

Glass Stone Creations — Glass Stone Creations repurposed vintage jewelry and uses a mosaic-style pattern to decorate crosses, clocks, picture frames and jewelry boxes. One of their signature creations is using old jewelry and religious medals to create unique designs on different size crosses. They also use small glass stones and other materials to decorate old windows and create faux-stained glass, making original designs of art. Clients have hung their windows above fireplaces, on porches and even on backyard fences to give their garden a bit of color and whimsy.

Little Tree Apothecary — A natural, plant-based company that crafts all natural, face, body and personal care products handcrafted in small batches with limited ingredients. Little Tree Apothecary offers a simple yet luxurious line of personal and skincare products.

Morgan Farm Books — A children’s book series in which each book is written and illustrated by local author Katie Morgan Lester, based on childhood memories of her family’s farm and the animals she grew up loving.

Morr_is Wood ‘N Things Gary Morris’ small business offers more than 600 different scroll sawn creations that are available for purchase as gifts. All of the items are handmade in the US using a scroll saw.

Nectar of the Vine — Co-founder Dennis Hart first became involved in the food business back in 1992, when he created European Gourmet Almonds and sold maple sugar and gourmet roasted nuts with his three sons. After many years in the food industry, he and partner (now wife), Carol Nastasi, started Nectar of the Vine in 2006, because of their entrepreneurial spirits, energy and their tastes for fine foods. They wanted to provide a fun, new way for people to enjoy wine. Nectar of the Vine offers an assortment of gourmet food products, including a line of delicious wine frappés, gift kits and specialty gift baskets.

Organix by Tay — Plant-based moisturizers, bath and foot products, which are made from clean sourced, organic and cruelty-free ingredients using their “Simple.Natural.Effective.” method.

Organix by Tay

Radiant Gazelle Creations — Decorated stainless steel cups with paint, vinyl, and other materials. Radiant Gazelle Creations has handmade epoxy tumblers, crafted one at a time. Customization is available upon request.

The Toonheadz — One of the best teams of caricature artists! Founded by the top caricature artists in Atlanta, Bobby Morris and AJ Jensen. They started their adventure at some of Georgia’s biggest festivals and have moved on to preforming live caricatures for parties and events.

Tilly + Reggie — Their candles are non-toxic and pet-safe with intended use. They are hand-poured in small batches to ensure quality and fragrant scent, created with natural soy wax, natural cotton wicks and high-quality fragrance oil. No dyes, paraffin additives or harmful phthalates are used.

Smack Yo Mama — Smack Yo Mama Gourmet BBQ Sauce has been in business since 1998 and offers a variety of gourmet BBQ sauces and a savory all-around dry seasoning.

Sponsors

The Peachtree Corners Festival team is thankful to its many sponsors for making this spectacular event possible. The full list of 2021 festival sponsors can be found at the sponsor page of the festival site, peachtreecornersfestival.com. Thanks to the City of Peachtree Corners for serving as Title Sponsor. And don’t forget to swing by the Peachtree Corners Magazine table because we would love to see everyone!

Calling all volunteers!

A major event of this scale cannot take place without careful planning and support from local volunteers. There are many ways to get involved, from assistance with the fan-favorite car show, to vendor setup and booth support. Please visit the volunteer page on the festival site, peachtreecornersfestival.com, for more information.

Typically, volunteers need to be 18 years of age or older, though with a parent’s permission, younger teens can join in in certain cases. All volunteers receive an official Peachtree Corners Festival t-shirt, and of course, get to take part in a now decade-long tradition.

Let’s Eat!

Food for every set of tastebuds makes up this year’s vendor list. Are you in the mood for a sweet frozen treat to cool down the heat? Al a Carte Foods has you covered with ice cream and novelties — or try Tropical Smashers pineapple drinks in real pineapples, as well as 32-ounce chillers.

Is seafood your jam? Then Atlanta Seafood Company is a must-stop. They’re cooking up catfish, shrimp and crab cakes that won’t leave you crabby.

Moe’s Original BBQ recently set up shop in town and will make a scrumptious showing at this year’s festival. Expect a little bit of everything that makes Moe’s memorable, from award-winning Bama-style pulled pork and ribs to wings and chicken smoked over hardwood and served with two unique sauces. Homemade Southern sides from recipes passed down for generations will also be available.

Don’t forget to grab some Roasted Corn from the booth that keeps it simple, with a name that shows you the bright fresh yellow goodness that will stick to your ribs and maybe even in your teeth.

And it is a festival, right? It wouldn’t be fair not to give you that fair fare. Bae Bae’s Place is the place to be for Philly steaks, Georgia boy sausage dogs, funnel cakes, corn dogs, French fries and an ever-expanding menu.

Cinnaholic, a new bakery in Peachtree Corners, will tempt you with Gourmet cinnamon rolls featuring multiple frosting and topping choices. All of their products are fresh baked and 100% vegan and Kosher, as well as dairy and lactose-free, egg-free and cholesterol-free.

For a taste a little farther away from home, The Mad Greek brings all the flavors of the Mediterranean to our backyard. The company is a family-owned and operated food truck group that hit the streets in 2017. They currently have three food trucks rolling around Atlanta year-round. With recipes passed down for generations, and a modern twist on traditional favorites, they will have you saying “Opa!”

Similarly, Salvay Bistro Station is an Argentinian restaurant new to Lawrenceville and the Peachtree Corners Festival this year. Their menu is focused on empanadas with many kinds of fillings. For meat lovers, dig into ground beef, bacon, egg and cheese, bacon, chorizo or chicken. For those who prefer meatless selections, there is fried mozzarella, vegan tofu scramble and even Dulce de Leche.

And let’s not leave out Peachy Corners Café, our local purveyor of boba tea (aka bubble tea) and coffee. For those not familiar with the Asian taste sensation that is bubble tea, stop by the café’s booth and try something new and exciting. In layman’s terms, bubble tea is a tea-based drink that originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s. It commonly consists of tea accompanied by chewy tapioca balls; however, it can be made with other toppings as well. But trying to explain what bubble tea is will pale in comparison to the experience of sipping it from an oversize straw.

In Peachtree Corners, we are proud to say diversity and fun, bold flavors are on the menu. So pick up a cup and a plate from whatever sounds good to you and chow down!

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BRACK: Peachtree Corners to lose Peterbrooke Chocolatier

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Scottt Gottuso and Geoffrey Wilson.
Scottt Gottuso and Geoffrey Wilson. Photo provided.

Peachtree Corners will soon lose one of its most iconic, popular and tasty businesses.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier, run by Geoffrey Wilson and Scott Gottuso, has been told by Peachtree Forum landlords, North American Properties and Nuveen Real Estate, that its lease will not be renewed. The last day of business will be July 25.

Meanwhile, Peachtree Forum is getting several new stores. They include Kendra Scott, Sucre, and The NOW Massage. Previously announced were Alloy Personal Training, Cookie Fix, Gallery Anderson Smith, Giulia, Lovesac, Nando’s Peri-Peri and Stretchlab. Wilson adds: “We are not in their big picture.”

Wilson has operated Peterbrooke at the Peachtree Forum for 14 years and Gottuso has been there nine years. They have made the chocolatier profitable and doubled sales. Wilson says: “We turned it around through community involvement and made relationships. We worked with the schools, gave donations, did a lot in the community, and made a difference. We produce most everything we sell in the shop, so it’s labor intensive. We make European-style chocolate treats from scratch from the very best ingredients, package it, make gift baskets, and also sell a lot of gelato.”

Key items include truffles, hand-made caramels, cherry cordials, chocolate-covered cookies and pretzels and strawberries hand-dipped in their own blend of chocolates. (They are all good!) One of Wilson’s and Gottuso’s most iconic products is chocolate popcorn. Once you try it, regular popcorn is tasteless. “We sell a lot of it.” Wilson adds: “Gelato sales have carried us in the summertime, since there are not many chocolate holidays in the summer.”

Peterbrooke now has five employees, and would like to have 10, but it is difficult to hire people with the skills in chocolatiering. A key part of its business is corporate companies, such as Delta Air Lines and Capital Insight. The Peachtree Corners’ Peterbrooke has corporate customers as far away as Cleveland, Ohio.

The operators were surprised when the Forum owners did not renew its five year lease. “The big decisions were made in Charlotte or Cincinnati, not locally,” Wilson feels. “We were no longer in their big picture. They want new and glitzy, shiny, fancy and trendy.”

The operators plan to start their own chocolate company, to be called “Scoffrey,” and initially sell online, plus have pop-up locations during holidays, and possibly have a booth in other merchants’ stores on occasions.

“Whatever we do would look different. We might rent a space somewhere close by so that people can still have the good chocolate experience with us, but we won’t have a regular audience walking by.”

Another element: the price of chocolate futures has spiked this year, with a bad crop production year. Wilson says: “That is key to our business and a huge cost increase. That doesn’t help.”

Wilson adds that the forced closing of the Peterbrooke location “is something like the death of a friend. But you go to the funeral and to the wake, and in six months or a year, It won’t be so bad.”

Have a comment?  Send to: elliott@elliottbrack

Written by Elliott Brack

This material is presented with permission from Elliott Brack’s GwinnettForum, an online site published Tuesdays and Fridays. To become better informed about Gwinnett, subscribe (at no cost) at GwinnettForum

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The Transformative Trail: Dr. Sunit Singhal’s Journey to Wellness

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The highest peak in Tanzania also known as the “roof of Africa" // Photos courtesy of Dr. Sunit Singhal

For more than two decades, Dr. Sunit Singhal has been a member of the Peachtree Corners community. In February 2001, he opened Suburban Medical Center, making a significant contribution to community healthcare. Under his leadership, the medical center has expanded, notably by introducing Suburban Med Spa next door.

A 1988 graduate of the University College of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, Dr. Singhal furthered his expertise in the United States, completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Harlem Hospital Center in New York.

An awakening at the Grand Canyon

A few years ago, the 60-year-old physician had an eye-opening moment about his own health. Most of his life was spent being overweight, which he accepted and managed the best he could.

“It’s not a secret that I was overweight. Anyone could see it; it’s how I was my whole life,” said Dr. Singhal.

The pivotal moment for Dr. Singhal was his attempt to join friends on a hike at the Grand Canyon a few years back. Despite his determination, Dr. Singhal was unprepared for the hike’s demands.

“I thought, okay, I will meet my friends one-third of the way down the canyon from the opposite end. That way, I can keep up with them towards the end of the hike,” he shared.

The trek up Mount Kilimanjaro

Even starting much later, Dr. Singhal struggled greatly with the hike. He experienced knee pain, breathlessness, and exhaustion. His struggle not only slowed him down but also his friends, who had been hiking for an additional 12 hours before he joined them.

The ordeal ended in the middle of a cold night, leading to a physically taxing recovery period that left Dr. Singhal sore for days.

Despite the arduous experience at the Grand Canyon, Dr. Singhal didn’t retire his hiking boots. Feeling motivated to conquer the obstacle, he began walking long miles with friends to get into shape.

A few months later, the call of the canyon echoed again, and friends proposed a new challenge: hiking from the South Rim to the river and back. While less daunting than their previous endeavor, the task was intimidating.

“This time, I was able to make the hike without holding anyone back,” he shared. Dr. Singhal already saw the difference his efforts were making.

His triumphs over physical and mental barriers were clear and exciting. Dr. Singhal’s return to the canyon increased his resilience and personal growth.

Conquering Kilimanjaro: a test of determination

Following a series of hikes through the Grand Canyon as his health improved, Dr. Singhal and his hiking group set their sights on Mount Kilimanjaro. They regularly engaged in 10-mile hikes each week to prepare for the trek.

(left to right) Singhal, Kashish, Vani and Mahender Gupta.

“It was never on our minds to simply skip or cut the hike short because we didn’t feel like it that day,” Dr. Singhal said. Even family members occasionally joined, keeping pace with the senior group with varying success.

When the time arrived for their Kilimanjaro quest, they needed to identify the number of days their group would need to complete it.

“There are different levels you can choose for hikes. If you are very athletic, the 5-day hike is for you. It goes all the way up to 9 days if you need to go slowly,” Dr. Singhal explained.

The friends chose the six-day option. It seemed like a good balance of their confidence in their fitness coupled with a conservative approach. Yet, they completed the ascent in five days.

“We couldn’t believe we finished at such a quick pace. We weren’t straining ourselves to do it. It was the natural pace we wanted to go, and we finished with the group we viewed as the most fit and athletic.”

Mount Everest on the horizon

The hiking group isn’t resting on their laurels, though. The crew continues to meet and train for their next goal, climbing Mount Everest.

“There’s a lottery to be accepted to climb. We entered and are hoping to be selected for a hike this fall,” Dr. Singhal shared. When asked if he felt intimidated about this potential hike, he confidently replied, “No, not really.”

The team of friends will hear this summer if they are selected to climb.

Health and hope

Dr. Singhal’s health journey is the perfect example of the potential for change at any stage of life. It also highlights the importance of self-care, perseverance and pursuing one’s goals, regardless of the starting point.

His patients can rest easily. He isn’t walking away from his practice for the mountains full-time. Dr. Singhal is committed to his practice and patients. He firmly believes and displays that personal improvement and professional dedication can coexist harmoniously.

“I want my patients to know that I am equally dedicated to being here for them and their own health journeys.” When he’s not hitting the trails, Dr. Singhal can be found spending time with his family in Duluth or at his practice in Peachtree Corners.

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Local Youngsters Learn Life Lessons Through Community Service

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Images courtesy of Young Men’s Service League

What started 20 years ago with two Texas moms looking for ways to get their sons involved in community service projects while spending quality time together turned into the Young Men’s Service League (YSML).

The national organization has dozens of chapters in 20 states, including Georgia.

Peachtree Corners mom, Heather Fleming, heard of a chapter in the northeast part of metro Atlanta, but it was pretty much at capacity.

“The way the chapters work is each class can only have around 30 boys,” she said.

“The more people you have in your chapter, the harder it might be for people to get hours in and just managing that number of people [can be difficult],” she added.

Taking matters into her own hands

Fleming partnered with another mom whose son couldn’t get into the chapter either to start their own.

“She was determined that she wanted her boys to be able to have this experience,” said Fleming.

“Our chapter started with a full ninth-grade class , and then the tenth-grade class was a little bit smaller, with around 20 boys,” she added.

Even though it’s a good way for public school students to earn community service hours, most of the participants attend private schools that don’t have that requirement.

They do it to do good in the community and to have fun hanging out with their moms.

“The whole point is that we only have four years left before our sons go off to whatever their next step is after they graduate from high school,” said Fleming.

“It’s just to have that quality time together, serving the community and then also to give them the opportunity to hear from speakers they would not ever necessarily have access to,” she added.

Preparing the next generation

Fleming’s son Luke graduates next year and he’s found fulfillment in YMSL.

“It has been fun serving our community with many of my friends and their moms. I have also learned a lot from the various speakers we have had over the years,” said Luke. One of my favorite speakers was Tyler Hannel, who spoke about how to be a better version of yourself.”

There are many charities that need volunteers, and many align with the skills and interests of the young men.

“My most memorable experiences were serving with BlazeSports at their annual Big Peach Slam basketball tournament the last two years,” said Luke.

“Watching kids my age play basketball from a wheelchair was so inspiring. I am thankful for an organization like BlazeSports that gives kids and adults with disabilities a way to still compete in a variety of sporting events,” he stated.

Tracey Shell and her son, Carson, have similar views.

“Our first year was last year, so I didn’t know about this organization when my older son was in high school,” said Shell. “They learn about things like life skills and leadership, … but the real heart of the organization is volunteering in your community and learning about local philanthropy.”

Each YMSL chapter works with a certain number of nonprofits each year—usually nearby. Although this chapter is called the John’s Creek Young Men Service League, it has members from Peachtree Corners, Norcross, Berkeley Lake, Alpharetta and John’s Creek.

YMSL donates time and energy, not money

Every year, each chapter does what it calls the ultimate gift. This time around, the Johns Creek chapter went farther outside its boundaries and helped the Atlanta Music Project (AMP). It’s a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 to provide tuition-free world-class music training and performance opportunities in under-resourced communities.

In October, AMP presented its first event, which brought together its entire community of performers for an afternoon of music and fellowship. The AMP Experience took place at Pullman Yards and featured performances from past and present students, with about 500 participants in total.

To pull off such a feat, AMP needed many volunteer ushers and stage crew. That’s where Johns Creek YMSL stepped in, with nearly 80 local YMSL volunteers who gave 246 service hours. Mom and son volunteers loaded instruments, set up and cleaned up, served as parking lot attendants and greeters and supported social media outreach.

Both Fleming and Shell have seen their boys grow and mature and are proud of the young men they are becoming.

“They become more aware of the different nonprofits and philanthropy that are just right in our own backyard that they might not have known about,” said Shell.

Fleming echoed that sentiment. Her older son Andrew is a sophomore at Clemson University, and she’s seen him carry the lessons learned at YMSL into his daily life by being actively involved with service projects in his fraternity and a mission trip over Spring Break.

“He definitely has a heart for helping others, which … is the ultimate goal. When they’re not living at home, and I’m not necessarily making them serve, they want to do this on their own in college and beyond,” she said.

For more information, visit ymsljohnscreek.org.

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