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Crowds flock to Mitchell music

Every first Saturday, during the warmer months at least, they set up on the steps of the Mitchell Depot with their guitars, standup bass, mandolin, dobro, fiddle and banjo. And they play. And the people come.

"Every month the crowd seems to grow," said Bill Wilcher, one of the original organizers of Mitchell's Music in the Park gatherings.

He and Glenda Lamb took the idea from Tallulah Falls, where people would spend Saturday nights listening to music on the lawn of the mayor's house.

It started out with family and friends gathering to hear the local band, Small Town Blue Grass, play a few sets on the old depot's steps, but it has grown into a regular monthly event, one which Mrs. Lamb says draws crowds from five counties, an event she says people call asking about all year long.

"It's a safe place," Mrs. Lamb said. "Its in the park by the depot museum and people can bring their kids and let them go on the playground or bring their pets. It's great."

The band plays on the museum's steps while local ladies raffle cakes, mamas push little boys on hand-made swings and the crowd listens, fans gnats and sips lemonade.

Mr. Wilcher and Mrs. Lamb serve on the Mitchell's Depot Museum committee together and took it before their board asking for sponsorship.

"We raised the money for the food and drinks for that first event and it was all donated," Mr. Wilcher said. "Since then we've set out donation jars and whatever we raise we spend on food for the next event."

Last month they had hamburgers and hotdogs, sodas, chips, homemade candied peanuts and red velvet cake.

Last month, around 200 people showed up with their folding chairs to sit in the late afternoon shade of the old pecan and oak trees and tap their feet along with the band.

Events generally run from 7 to 9 p.m. during the warmer months, ending around October.

"People come from five counties around," Mrs. Lamb said. We get a lot of folks from McDuffie County and a good many from Augusta."

Web posted on Thursday, July 27, 2006

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