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2022 Holiday and Faith Events

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The Merry Market

December 5-13

Peachtree Corners Baptist Church (drop-off point)

4480 Peachtree Corners Cir., Peachtree Corners

merrymarket.org

Donations appreciated.

           

Presented by Neighborhood Cooperative Ministry, the Merry Market provides Christmas for families that cannot afford to give their children with Christmas gifts. The market will supply new Christmas gifts to families, warm clothes to children and teenagers and the opportunity for families to come together and help others.

Walk Through Bethlehem

December 9-11

Friday and Saturday, 7-9 p.m.; Sunday, 6-8 p.m.

Simpsonwood Park

4511 Jones Bridge Cir., Peachtree Corners

simpsonwoodumc.org

Admission is free; canned food donations are encouraged.

Simpsonwood United Methodist Church invites everyone to experience the village of Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. Families can stroll through the candlelit outdoor nativity scene, stopping in shops and encountering shepherds, wise men, angels, Roman guards and live animals. Visitors are asked to bring canned food donations for Neighborhood Cooperative Ministry.

Winter Holiday Market

Saturday, December 17, 12-5 p.m.

Kettlerock Brewing

6025 Peachtree Pkwy., Ste. 1, Peachtree Corners

kettlerockkbrewing.com

            There will be treats for all at Kettlerock Brewing’s holiday market — arts and crafts vendors, live music and food trucks for holiday shoppers. Some limited release holiday beer selections will also be available.

Peachtree Corners Photography Club Group Meet Up

Thursdays, December 8, January 12 and February 9

6:45-8:15 p.m.

Atlanta Tech Park

107 Technology Pkwy., Peachtree Corners 30092

pcphotoclub.org

            The December speaker is Sharon Fuente, and the topic is “Ideas for Great Holiday Family Photos.” Meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at Atlanta Tech Park and/or online. Photographers of all skill levels are welcomed at 6:15 p.m. for social time.

Faith Events

Behold the Lamb of God Ballet

Sunday, December 11, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Perimeter Church

9500 Medlock Bridge Rd., Johns Creek

perimeterballet.com

Admission is free.

            Perimeter Ballet presents this true story of Christmas with two showings of this family-friendly event. The show features dance, drama, visual art and the music of Andrew Peterson.

Beth Shalom Hanukkah Party

Sunday, December 11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

5303 Winters Chapel Rd., Dunwoody

bethshalom.net, 770-399-5300

Admission is free. Registration requested.

            Bring the family to celebrate Hanukkah with relay races, dreidel games, spin art, doughnuts and gelt.

Advent by Candlelight

Monday, December 12, 7 p.m.

Mary Our Queen Catholic Church

6260 The Corners Pkwy., Peachtree Corners

maryourqueen.com, 770-416-0002

Registration is required.

            The MOQ’s Women’s Guild will host Advent by Candlelight. All women of the parish and guests are invited for coffee, wine and dessert in the Parish Family Life Center. Prayer, reflection and music fill the evening in a program designed to deepen the Advent journey.

An Evening of Lessons & Carols

Thursday, December 15, 7-9:30 p.m.

Perimeter Church

9500 Medlock Bridge Rd., Johns Creek

Tickets are $15 per person.

perimeter.org

            Award-winning artists Laura Story, Matt Papa and Sandra McCracken host an inspirational concert that retells the great news of Christmas through Scripture and carols.

Advent Lessons and Carols

Friday, December 16, 7 p.m.

Mary Our Queen Catholic Church

6260 The Corners Pkwy., Peachtree Corners

maryourqueen.com, 770-416-0002

Admission is free.

            Scripture passages recount the fall of mankind, the promise of the Messiah and the anticipation of the Nativity of Christ. Each lesson is followed by a choral piece, soloist or congregation carol that reflects the Scripture’s message.

Latke, Vodka and Game Night

Saturday, December 17, 7-9 p.m.

5303 Winters Chapel Rd., Dunwoody

bethshalom.net, 770-399-5300,

Admission is free. RSVP required.

            Adults are welcome to enjoy games and get lit. Latkes, vodka and some games will be provided. Attendees are welcome to bring more games and menorahs.

Christmas: Then, Now and Forever!

Saturday and Sunday, December 17-18

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, during Christmas Service

The Father’s House Church

6060 Spalding Dr., Peachtree Corners

thefathershouseatl.org, 770-840-0888

Admission is free.

            Experience the joy of the season with a celebration that includes a variety showcase of songs, dances, poetry and live music. Special prizes will be given out during the event.

https://thefathershouseatl.org

Encore Christmas Luncheon

Sunday, December 18, 12:15 p.m.

4480 Peachtree Corners Cir., Peachtree Corners

pcbchurch.org, 770-448-1313

Tickets are $15 per person; RSVP requested by Dec. 10.

            Adults ages 55+ are invited to a luncheon in the Student Worship Center. Bring a friend and celebrate the season with a delicious meal and entertainment with the PCBC friends and family.

A Winter Solstice Experience

Wednesday, December 21, 7-8 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Donations are encouraged; in-person and live-stream.

            Enjoy a healing sound bath to welcome in the longest night of the year and the turning of the wheel of the seasons. Bring comfortable clothes, a pillow and blanket to drift into the healing sounds of crystal bowls, gongs and more with sound healer Jennifer Blaha.

“A Light unto the World”

Saturday, December 24, 4:45-6 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Admission is free; in-person and live-stream.

            The traditional Christmas Eve candle lighting service is led by Rev. Jennifer Sacks, Senior Minister. Christmas music and a Christmas Readers Theater will be presented in the service. The evening ends with a candle lighting throughout the sanctuary.

“Star Bright” Christmas Day Service

Sunday, December 25, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Admission is free; in-person only.

            The casual morning service is led by Rev. Jennifer Sacks. It features cookies, cocoa, Christmas carols and story based on the book, “Star Bright; A Christmas Story.”

New Year’s Eve Burning Bowl Ceremony

Sunday, January 1, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Admission is free for in-person and live-stream attendance.

            Rev. Jennifer Sacks leads the ceremony.

White Stone Ceremony

Sunday, January 8, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Admission is free for in-person and live-stream attendance.

            Ceremony is led by Rev. Jennifer Sacks.

Local Theatre

The Nutcracker

December 3-18

Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

Gas South Arena

6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth

gassouthdistrict.com, 770-626-2464

Tickets are $22-$47.

            This season, Gwinnett Ballet Theatre celebrates 41 years of sharing the Nutcracker with Gwinnett County. ballet is complete with entrancing dancing, stunning sets and colorful costumes. Magic abounds as Herr Drosselmeyer presents young Clara with a toy Nutcracker that accompanies Clara on a journey to the Land of Sweets.

Christmas at GAC: Lessons & Carols

Thursday, December 8, 7-9 p.m.

Greater Atlanta Christian School King’s Gate Theatre

1575 Indian Trail Rd., Norcross

greateratlantachristian.org, 770-243-2000

            The High School presents their Christmas program to celebrate the season.

The Lion in Winter

December 8-19

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

Lionheart Theatre

10 College St., Norcross

lionhearttheatre.org, 404-919-4022

Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students.

            Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine is kept in prison for raising an army against her husband, King Henry II, but is let out for the holidays. The Plantagenet family’s story is full of sibling rivalry, adultery and dungeons as they compete with one another to inherit a kingdom.

The Forum

5185 Peachtree Pkwy., Peachtree Corners

theforumonpeachtree.com

Cookies & Milk with Santa

Thursday, December 15

4-4:45 p.m. and 5-5:45 p.m.

Admission is $12 per child.

            Enjoy a special treat with everyone’s favorite jolly man.

Storytime with Santa

Fridays, December 9, 16 and 23

4-4:45 p.m. and 5-5:45 p.m.

Admission is $12 per child.

            Every Friday in December before Christmas, Santa will share a story.

Christmas Crafts with Santa

Thursdays, December 8 and December 22

4-4:45 p.m. and 5-5:45 p.m.

Admission is $12 per child.

            Santa is on hand to help kids as they create.

Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, December 10

8:30-9:15 a.m. and 9:30-10:15 a.m.

Admission is $15 per child.

            Start the day with Jolly St. Nick and enjoy breakfast with him.

Menorah Lighting at the Forum

Sunday, December 18, 4-6 p.m.

Forum Drive, in front of the fountain

Admission is free; no ticket is required.

            Presented in partnership with Chabad of Gwinnett, The Forum kicks off a Hannukah celebration with a Menorah lighting ceremony, family friendly activities and live entertainment.

Gwinnett Parks & Recreation

GwinnettParks.com

A Beary Merry Day

Saturday, December 10, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

OneStop Norcross

5030 Georgia Belle Ct., Norcross

Admission is $2 per child for Gwinnett residents, $6 for non-residents; parent or guardian admission is free. Registration is required.

            Ages 12 and under are welcome to adopt a teddy bear and listen to a holiday story. Parent participation is required. OneStop Norcross is collecting non-perishable foods, new toys, clothes, diapers and/or toiletries for those in need.

Family Snow Day

Friday, December 16, 6-8 p.m.

Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center

4758 S. Old Peachtree Rd., Norcross

Admission is $6 per person.

            A fun winter event for the whole family, Family Snow Day features games, crafts, contests, a hot chocolate/popcorn bar and a unique ‘snow’ ball fight. Be extra festive and wear your favorite holiday pajamas.

Winter Woodland Walk

Wednesday, December 28, 10-11:30 a.m.

Simpsonwood Park

4511 Jones Bridge Cir., Peachtree Corners

678-277-0902

Admission is free.

            All ages are welcome to take a stroll with an educator, see trees through a new lens and learn how Georgia’s native trees adapt to winter. Call for more info.

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Twin Authors Chronicle Antics of ‘Four-Legged Brother’

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On Feb. 1, the young authors Megan and Mackenzie Grant released the children’s book, “How We Love Our Four-Legged Brother.”
Megan and Mackenzie Grant

Berkeley Lake second graders make fans across the globe with sweet children’s story.

When rescue dog Apollo found his forever home with Megan and Mackenzie Grant, the Berkeley Lake twins knew they had added a special member to the family. He’s so beloved that he’s considered their “four-legged brother.”

Apollo is a Boston terrier. The breed is known for its friendliness and love of people and children. According to the Purina Company, makers of all kinds of pet food, Boston terriers  make affectionate pets and are outgoing and social. 

While they are called ‘terriers,’ they are not in the terrier group, nor do they behave like them. They are far happier at home with their owner than getting into the usual mischief. 

But Megan and Mackenzie see him as a silly addition to the family.

“He’s super cool because he’s always up for fun and loves us a whole bunch. And guess what? We love him back even more! He’s like the best friend ever, wagging his tail and making everything awesome!” they said in a press release.

Apollo’s birthday inspiration

As his first birthday approached, the girls, six years old at the time, wanted his day to be special.

“I said, ‘Well if you want to come up with something to do, let’s write it out,’” said mom Tameka Womack.  “So they started writing out all these different adventures, and it was so cute.”

Megan recalled that their teacher had told them about someone who had published a book, and she asked if they could, too.

“When I read through it, they had all the different things, like playing dress up because we had bought some clothes for him. And we take them out for long walks around the lake and stuff,”  Womack added.

Although their favorite subjects in school are PE and art, they did such a good job with the tale that Tameka worked with them to get it published. On Feb. 1, the young authors released the children’s book, “How We Love Our Four-Legged Brother.”

Publishing success

The 30-page book took off almost immediately. Available for print and digital through Amazon and print editions through Barnes & Noble, the book has reached customers in the U.K., Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy,  Poland and throughout the U.S.

The girls and their mom were so pleased and surprised to find out the book was No. 1 in its category on Amazon.

“They were just so excited that people actually bought the book,” said Womack. “They were just like, ‘Wow, who is buying this?’”

Feedback from fellow twins, animal lovers and teachers showed that the story resonated on many levels.

“As an educator, I am always on the lookout for diverse and inclusive literature for my students. ‘How We Love Our Four-Legged Brother’ not only captivated the imaginations of the children in my class but also served as a wonderful conversation starter about friendship, empathy and the beauty of diversity,” wrote Ashleigh Darby.

The royalties from book sales are tucked away, with a percentage going to Apollo’s wardrobe.

“He won’t go out in the rain without his raincoat … or out in the winter without his sweater,” said Womack. “We have a little budget for his clothes because every time the girls see something, they’re like, ‘Oh, I think Apollo will like it.’  I’m like, I think he would too, but let’s let it stay in the store.”

Nurturing creativity

Although both mom and dad are engineers and kind of hoped that the twins would follow in their footsteps, Womack said she’s okay with them being artistic and creative.

“Writing is teaching them some responsibility and teaching them a little bit about money,” she said. “Now they want to write a book every day.”

Between raising three daughters (the twins have an older teenage sister), running a household with her husband and keeping up with her career at Georgia Tech, Womack said she’ll look for time to continue helping the girls with their dreams.

“With summer coming up, I would definitely encourage parents to help their children explore their creativity in any kind of way, from digging holes in the ground to … seeing the world … to creating books instead of being on the internet,” said Womack. I try to limit my kids’ screen time … and build real memories.”

Find “How We Love Our Four-Legged Brother” on Amazon.

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Local State Reps Give Roundup of Legislative Session

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(left to right) Dale Russell, Rep. Ruwa Romman and Rep. Scott Hilton // Photos by George Hunter

Hilton, Romman trade friendly banter that reflects diverse views in Georgia government

Georgia State House District 97 Representative Ruwa Romman and District 48 Representative Scott Hilton, whose constituents include parts of Southwest Gwinnett County, including Peachtree Corners, sat down for a second time to share information about legislative action at the State Capital

Their discussion was part of the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce First Friday Breakfast series at Atlanta Hilton Northeast.

Although they sit on opposite sides of the aisle, Hilton and Romman both seek to sponsor and pass legislation that improves and maintains a high quality of life in the Peach State and provides its residents with what they need. 

Elected in 2022, this was Romman’s sophomore year in the State House. She serves on the Georgia House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, Georgia House Information and Audits Committee and Georgia House Interstate Cooperation Committee. 

Hilton previously served in the State House from 2017 to 2019 but took a “sabbatical,” as he calls it, to serve as executive director for the Georgians First Commission under the Office of Governor Brian Kemp

He was re-elected to his current position in 2022. He is the vice chair of the Georgia House Creative Arts and Entertainment Committee and the Georgia House Education Committee, as well as a member of the Georgia House Public Health Committee and the Committee on Georgia House Urban Affairs.

Senate Bill 63

The moderator, Norcross resident and former WAGA political reporter Dale Russell started off with a topic making headlines: Senate Bill 63. This law, signed by Gov. Kemp shortly after the session ended, prohibits charities, individuals or groups from providing bail funds for more than three people per year unless they register as bonding agencies. It also expands mandatory cash bail to 30 new offenses.

“I think it’s going to bring home safety to the community,” said Hilton. “I ran on that issue because as I was knocking on doors, I’ve heard from folks who [want to] keep our community safe. And unfortunately, no community has been immune from the uptick in crime that we had seen post-COVID, so this was one of those bills in response to that.”

Hilton gave examples of crimes where individuals out on bail committed acts such as murder.

“That was our commitment back to our constituents to say, ‘Listen, we’re not going to let bad guys back out onto the streets again to do more crime.’ This bill was in response to this; it’s going to keep our community safe, hold those accountable and bring justice to those who break the law,” Hilton remarked. 

“Unfortunately, right now, we’ve got district attorneys and sheriffs across Georgia who are blatantly disregarding the law and letting folks back out on the streets who pose, you know, safety risks to law-abiding citizens like you and I and your businesses,” he continued.

Russel pointed out that there’s been a lot of criticism of this law. 

“The ACLU was totally against it. Some felt like it was imprisoning poor people in the sense, for minor crimes,” he said.

“I do agree with the criticism for a few reasons,” said Romman. 

“The problem with this bill is that of the 30 crimes that are listed as now requiring a cash bail, the majority of them don’t actually require jail time, even if you’re found guilty of them. So now, somebody who would not even have ever served time for those crimes that are listed could now serve jail time because they cannot afford their bail,” she explained.

She added that the law doesn’t address the crimes it’s supposed to protect citizens from.

“We see these headlines, but this bill doesn’t address those because what we see happening is that a lot of churches now will no longer be able to bail people out that cannot afford their bail because of this bill,” she said.

“And churches that have been trying to, for example, reunite a parent with their children for Christmas, or whatever the case may be, can no longer do that. There is actually an exception written into this bill for bail bondsmen. So, it’s not like being able to pay cash bail is completely out of the question. It just means that somebody can make money off of it now,” Romman continued.

Hilton said the state isn’t done with addressing public safety issues as they come up.

“I know that’s been a priority of the governor, and I think rightfully so; you know, there’s a reason we’ve got citizens flocking to Georgia over the last ten years; we’ve added a million Georgians to our state, and they are leaving states with policies that don’t have this. They’re coming to Georgia for economic prosperity, for safety and for good schools,” said Hilton.

House Bill 1105

Another controversial bill, HB 1105, is framed as a public safety bill that requires local enforcement to coordinate with federal immigration officials when someone in custody is suspected of being in the country illegally. 

Some say it’s an immigration bill.

“I know that the federal administration is trying to tell us there’s not a crisis. But there is a humanitarian crisis going on right now on our southern border.  … But they’re not handling it the right way, and it’s starting to impact our communities,” said Hilton.

“We’ve got sheriffs who have folks in their custody, who [need] to be reported up to ICE. And essentially, they’re sort of ignoring what’s in the law right now that says you got to report these folks,” he explained.

Romman doesn’t see it that way.

“Again, when you read the contents of the bill, that is, unfortunately, not what it does,” she said. “I’m one of the few, if not the only, member of the legislature that’s done any border project work,” she remarked.

She talked about her work keeping unaccompanied immigrant minors safe.

“I want to remind people that when we talk about immigration, there’s an entire spectrum of people that we are talking about. And it’s not just at the border, it’s also people that fly into our country legally, that gets narrowed into a terrible immigration system,” Romman said.

“It forces our state and county and city police to do federal-level work without more funding. What we’re doing is we’re actually adding an increased burden, essentially onto their workload that we are not paying for. And in addition, within this bill, if they do not do this, they could lose more funding.”

She added that this will take the police away from focusing on local issues and trying to work with people who live in their communities.

“If a community member feels like if they reach out to police for help, and the police are going to deport them, they are less likely to report crimes and less likely to work with our local police department,” Romman said. “If we’re serious about immigration and its relationship to crime, immigrants are 30% less likely to commit crimes, and I don’t want to vilify an entire group of people.”

Romman said she supports a holistic, three-pronged approach that includes improving conditions on the border and pathways to citizenship.

Business-related legislation

When the smoke cleared, both Hilton and Romman joked that they had different opinions about many issues but agreed that’s a healthy part of how the government works. 

“The fact that we do disagree and the fact that you, the community, have varying choices and options out there. I think it’s a healthy part of the process,” said Hilton. “And we do have fun. I was telling somebody we play kickball about halfway through the session, and we do get along.”

The discussion moved on to topics such as the FTC ruling on non-compete clauses and tort reform, which just about everyone in the room agreed upon. Although employees could see the beauty of disallowing non-compete clauses, as business owners, they’d hate to see trade secrets put in jeopardy or valuable time and money put into training to benefit another company. 

And everyone wanted to see caps on personal injury claims for things like slip-and-falls and fleet vehicle accidents.

“One of the few regrets I have coming out of session is that we didn’t do more on tort reform,” said Hilton. “Right now, Georgia is the number one judicial hellhole in the nation, meaning that we have more lawsuits on businesses and payouts than anywhere else in the country.”

This was one area where both representatives had similar views.

“I don’t think this is a left or right issue,” said Romman. “I want to make sure that whatever tort reform we pursue does not let, for example, a bad-acting company off the hook. But on the flip side, if somebody is just going around and suing everybody all the time to try and make some money off of it, how do you protect corporations and businesses from those kinds of bad incidents litigation?”

“What I will continue to look for when it comes to tort reform is, how are we going about balancing that?” she added.

Looking ahead

As the session wrapped, Romman and Hilton pointed out legislation they’d like to see move forward next year.

“House Bill 971 creates a $300 tax credit for taxpayers who sign up for firearm safety training or purchase a safe storage device. It’s a bipartisan measure, viewed by some as a small but perhaps significant move for gun safety advocates, which was tabled in the Senate room,” said Romman. 

She said the bill wouldn’t even require someone to disclose that they owned a firearm, but it was meant to incentivize people to store their firearms properly.

“There wasn’t a lot of appetite if somebody didn’t properly store their gun to have consequences for that, so we thought it would just incentivize better behavior,” she said.

Hilton mentioned school safety. 

“Over the last three years, every single school in Georgia has gotten a one-time $100,000 grant for School Safety. That’s every school in Georgia; in this most recent budget, we included $45,000 in recurring money for every school in the state to do whatever they want to ensure their campuses are safe,” he said. This includes private schools as well.

At the end of the event, Hilton and Romman reminded the audience that they weren’t running against each other, and even though their views were different, their goals for a better Georgia were equally as passionate.

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City of Peachtree Corners Unveils Space-Inspired Tot Lot Playground

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Last November, the city began constructing a new tot lot playground for children under six years old that is themed around space exploration. 
Photos by Dorie Liu

On Friday, May 10, 2024, the City of Peachtree Corners held a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony of its new space-themed Tot Lot Playground on Town Green.

Last November, the city began constructing a new tot lot playground for children under six years old that is themed around space exploration.  This new play area includes a rocket ship, a moon rover, a crashed UFO and other fun designs. It was also created to be fully accessible, ensuring all children can enjoy it.

During the ribbon-cutting, children and their guardians enjoyed fun activities, including an ice cream truck, bubble lady, balloon animals, face painting and even a visit from Buzz Lightyear.

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