2014-05-15 / Front Page

W-W preps for BRAG’s return; big kick-off event is Sun., June 8

By KIP BURKE
news editor

Washington-Wilkes has long been a favorite stop for the annual Bike Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) event, and when BRAG returns next month, hundreds of riders and supporters will find a warm, active welcome here for the ride’s kickoff, organizers say.

For years, local hospitality has made Washington one of the annual ride’s most popular stops along the way, but for the first time, this year Washington will be the ride’s starting point. Riders will begin to assemble Sunday, June 8, and enjoy all day Sunday here before leaving early Monday for the six-day bike ride that takes riders more than 50 miles a day via back roads through Thomson, Waynesboro, Metter, Jesup, and ultimately to Darien by Saturday.

“Washington-Wilkes is honored and excited to be the kickoff point for BRAG 2014,” said Erin Pollock. “That Sunday, June 8, we’ll have the kickoff celebration for BRAG from 2-9 p.m. downtown on The Square for riders, their families, and the Washington-Wilkes community.”

Riders will be coming from all over the state, she said. “This is a great opportunity to show off our hospitality and our rich history to hundreds of visitors who may have never visited Washington-Wilkes before, and this is going to make a positive impact on local businesses.

Expecting a crowd of visitors, organizers have planned a big welcome. “Our downtown stores and restaurants will be open on Sunday for shopping and dining,” she said. “We’ll have food, fun, and music throughout the day, so children can jump in bouncy houses and flip on the spider jump.”

At 6 p.m. Blind Driver, a classic rock band from Lake Oconee, will perform on The Square, she said. “We invite you to bring your blankets and lawn chairs to spend the day in downtown Washington.”

To welcome the hundreds of visitors, the Washington Historical Museum and Robert Toombs House will be open Sunday June 8, 2-5 p.m. to showcase the rich history of Washington-Wilkes.

In addition to the Washington Historical Museum’s large collection of Civil War relics, Indian artifacts, and Revolutionary War items, the museum will also display “Georgia’s Sacred Soils from Battles of the American Revolution,” consisting of soil samples taken from 28 engagements in which American patriots were wounded, killed, or captured on the soils of the Georgia colony from 1777-1782. Admission will be $5.

History will come to life at the Robert Toombs House with a living history program. Historic site interpreters will present the history of the Toombs House and the significance of each owner’s contribution to state and national history. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with General Toombs as he greets them in his home. Admission will be $4.50

For the history-minded BRAG riders, there’s another treat arranged for their departure. “As riders leave out of Wilkes County headed to their next overnight stay in Thomson, they will ride past Kettle Creek Battlefield,” Pollock said. “Kettle Creek Battlefield Association will have battlefield tours led by Allen Burton on Monday morning, June 9, from 6:30-10 a.m.” There will be secure parking for both motorists and bikes with a shuttle to the battle site.

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