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The Peachtree Corners Festival Gears Up for Another Great Year

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The Peachtree Corners Festival is no doubt one of the greatest traditions in the city of Peachtree Corners because of its continual improvement and growth year after year. Filled with music, food, arts and crafts — and much more — the family-friendly festival continues to be a symbol and trademark of our community’s excellence. 

Located in and around the Town Center, the Peachtree Corners Festival will be hosted on September 22 through 24, with times on Friday, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 to 5:00 p.m. 

As the festival celebrates its 12th year of continuation, Peachtree Corners Festival brings something new to the table this year. With the recent passing of long-time Peachtree Corners resident, First Lady of Peachtree Corners and Peachtree Corners Festival Vice President Debbie Mason, the festival plans to commemorate Mason this year and the legacy she not only left with the festival but with the community. 

Dave Huffman, Peachtree Corners Festival President, has been heavily involved in the festival for over a decade and worked closely with Mason for many years. To bring light to the lasting impact Mason left on the city of Peachtree Corners, the organizing committee of the festival has many plans in store for the upcoming weekend. 

Celebrating Debbie Mason

Huffman shared that the professed theme of this year’s festival is “Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Debbie Mason.”  

“Normally we don’t have a theme to our festival, but this year is special,” said Huffman. “In addition to all of her many activities and contributions to our community, Debbie was a co-founder of the festival and its Vice-President until her death from cancer earlier this year.”

Within the festival, to celebrate Mason’s legacy during the festival kickoff, there will be a tribute to Mason in the opening speech, the festival t-shirts will have Mason mentioned on them, and on the festival booths, there will be mention of Mason, too. 

Even before the festival, Peachtree Corners Festival worked to install the Debbie Mason Drama Scholarship at Norcross High School (NHS) to celebrate Mason’s love for the NHS drama department. 

Aside from these meaningful attributions, the Peachtree Corners Festival has many other plans in store to make this year special.

Foremost, with the festival set to take place in the middle of September rather than mid-summer, the cooled weather will surely create an enjoyable setting for the festival. Huffman and his team also have worked to improve the festival and its dynamics for this year’s event. 

“Each year we try to improve a little bit on the previous year,” said Huffman. “I know people — organizers like myself — will always say, ‘Oh this is going to be the greatest festival we’ve ever had.’ But when we do a process like that, that’s actually true because each festival, we try to improve on it a little bit, take our lessons learned.”

“We’ve got more arts and crafts booths than we’ve ever had, and the music is always a plus,” Huffman continued. “We’re one of the few festivals in this area that pays our bands. So, we do get, I think, a higher quality of band. Our car show is always fun, and I think that’s something that makes our festival stand out, I believe, from some of the other ones in the area.” 

Music

Becky Lyon, Entertainment Coordinator, and Huffman have worked to create three nights full of unforgettable entertainment. 

On Friday night, two show-stopping bands will take the stage. At 7:30 p.m., a Peter Frampton tribute band, Tommy Lee Thompson and the Network will get the evening off to a rocking start.

Following the opening, headliner Back N Black, an AC/DC tribute band, will start around 8:30 p.m. Performing top AC/DC hits such as “Highway to Hell,” “Thunderstruck” and “You Shook Me All Night,” the band will keep the energy high on the Town Green all night. 

Back N Black

The musical lineups for Saturday and Sunday are still being firmed up at press time, but Huffman did share some of the bands that are scheduled to appear. The list includes Bulletproof, Casual Cadenza, The New Bridge Band and Sonic Alley

The Whiskey Angels will also hit the stage, making their first-time appearance at the Peachtree Corners Festival.

Automobiles and more

Got a hot rod to show off? On both Saturday, September 23, and Sunday, September 24, Peachtree Corners Festival will be hosting both a Classic Car Show and an exhibition by Georgia’s Concours d’Elegance


Georgia Concours D’Elegance

During the Classic Car Show, Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., anyone who wishes to participate can enter their car or bike with a $15 registration fee. Make sure to bring your vehicles and cameras as this is surely an event all car show lovers will not want to miss.

Judges will scope out the fierce competition during the show and two top-class trophies will be given out to the top car and top bike entered. 

And the fun doesn’t end on Saturday.

On Sunday, from 12 to 4 p.m., Georgia’s Concours d’Elegance will host an exhibition with cars on display. Admission is free to view many rare and luxurious vehicles. This invitation-only event will showcase luxury cars, ensuring an impressive line-up of classic cars. 

Make sure to come out and see the collection of vintage and collectible cars that be showcased on Sunday afternoon. The cars on display aren’t merely vehicles. Rather, they are pieces of art with eccentric history and aesthetic upkeep, making them quite a sight.

Arts, crafts and knick knacks

This year, the Arts & Crafts Row will be jam-packed with local artisans and businesses offering more unique products and crafts than ever before. Bring your family and friends to check out the one-of-a-kind goods for sale. There surely will be something for everyone. 

Rock My Zen: Started back in 2013, these Reiki-infused bracelets, necklaces, pendants and earrings have been made with crystal combinations to help with stress, anxiety and depression relief, negative energy protection, love and abundance. Rock My Zen was born out of a love for crystals and their properties. Visit the website at rockmyzen.com.

Seatree Studio: These handcrafted ornaments are both beautiful and eco-friendly. Through Seatree Studio, what once was an ordinary can is turned into a vibrant and whimsical ornament. All ornaments are hand-painted to perfection and take on curious shapes of nature. View the collection at seatree.studio.

Akayati Craft: Founded over 20 years ago in Ghana by brothers Joseph and Kwesi Akayati, Akayati Craft brings Ghana tradition to the U.S. with their famous Bolga baskets and other authentic African crafts. Purchasing products from Akayati Craft helps pay for educational fees for children and keeps this cultural craft alive. Check out akayaticraft.com to see their crafts.

Akayati Craft Bolga baskets

Alchemy Deodorant: Support a local Duluth-based natural deodorant small business this year by stopping by Alchemy Deodorant. This small business has an emphasis on being a plastic-free, vegan and budget-friendly business, while still having exclusive and powerful scents to offer. Visit the shop at alchemydeodorant.com.

Almash Pieces: If you are looking for fashionable yet life-enriching pieces of jewelry, Almash Pieces is surely a place to visit. Offering distinctive bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings, this small business crafts its pieces with love and good energy. Check out the shop at almashpieces.com.

Emmerse: Want relaxation in a jar? Visit Emmerse’s stand this year to enjoy artisan-crafted products such as candles, bar soaps, body butters and lip balms. Any of Emmerse’s products are sure to create the perfect spa night. Find more at getemmersed.com.

Melty Way Studio: This local small business crafts exceptional and mystical candles which take on many different shapes. Melty Way Studio crafts candles in shapes such as succulents, teddy bears, desserts and so much more. Visit etsy.com/Shop/Firstbreathshop for more information. 

My Little World: Based out of Duluth, My Little World Plant & Flowers is a family-owned business that sells live plants, colorful flowers and allows customers to create their own terrariums. Explore the shop at mylittleworldplantsflowers.com.

Peace Love Soul: Founder Joy turned puzzles into a gateway for peace in 2021 among turmoil. Peace Love Soul is a puzzle shop that strives to illustrate and convey diversity, culture and unity by celebrating women artists of color. To view more, visit piecelovesoul.com.

Piece Love Soul puzzle artwork 

Rainy Day Studio: Allie Benoit is the artist who creates the pieces at Rainy Day Studio. Benoit crafts ceramic home décor, dinnerware, drinkware and sculptures, among other things. The art Benoit creates helps soothe her soul and bring light into darkness. Check out rainydaystudiollc.com for more details.


Rainy Day Studio art

Rhapsody Handcrafted: Based right around the corner in Norcross, Rhapsody Handcrafted is a small business that centers its crafts around music and travel. Rhapsody Handcrafted sells earrings, car fresheners, aromatic candles and much more. Visit rhapsodyhandcrafted.com for more information.

Food and beverage vendors

Looking for a little bit of everything to taste? This year, the Peachtree Corners Festival will have five food trucks and 12 food booths and carts, allowing visitors to enjoy many different cuisines and tastes all in one place. 

Just among the food trucks, there is something for everyone, whether it be sweet, like Kona Ice, or savory, such as Chew on Chuan, a Latino-Asian fusion food truck. Visit their Facebook page at chewonchuan.

Additionally, among other options, PONKO Chicken will be present with their award-winning Japanese-American chicken. View their food selections at ponkochicken.com.

However, the flavor-filled fun does not stop with the food trucks. On the savory side, anyone can experience remarkable BBQ at the Moe’s Original BBQ food booth which will offer pork, chicken sandwiches and delicious bowls. View their website at moesoriginalbbq.com

If BBQ isn’t your desire, check out some incredible Greek bites at Gyro Chef Mediterranean. This food booth will serve authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine along with their specialty gyros. Check out their selection on their Instagram @gyrochefatlanta. 

However, if savory is not up your alley, there are plenty of sweet treats on offer at the Peachtree Corners Festival. Look out for Jeremiah’s Italian Ice in its distinctive booth, where you can grab a tasty and authentic treat of Italian ice. Visit their website at jeremiahsice.com.

Last, but surely not least, for a nostalgic and sugary indulgence, stop by Yummi Kotton, a food booth with a rare take on cotton candy. Yummi Kotton serves distinctively flavored cotton candy, such as blue raspberry and birthday cake, among their selections. Make sure to learn more at yummikotton.com.

Request for volunteers

Want to lend a helping hand for this year’s festival? Volunteering to help run the Peachtree Corners Festival is a great way to get some service hours completed, give back to your local community or even spend an afternoon. 

The Peachtree Corners Festival is always run by amazing volunteers and the festival needs volunteers this year. With so many different opportunities to volunteer at the event, there will be no problem finding a way to have a great time while also giving back. 

Volunteers must either be aged 18 or older or have parental permission to serve. Additionally, all volunteers will receive t-shirts to celebrate the event. Sign up to volunteer at peachtreecornersfestival.com.

Sponsors

Sponsors continue to be the driving force behind making Peachtree Corners Festival happen year after year. There are not enough words to express the gratitude the festival and community feels toward those who continue to support the Peachtree Corners Festival.

This year’s sponsors can be found under the Sponsor tab of peachtreecornersfestival.com. Clicking a sponsor’s logo will redirect you to their website for more information.

The City of Peachtree Corners is the 2023 Title sponsor, and Peachtree Corners Magazine continues to be a silver sponsor.

Zoey Schlueter is a senior who attends Greater Atlanta Christian School and has lived in Peachtree Corners her whole life. She enjoys written journalism inside and outside of school and plans on pursuing journalism in college.

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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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