Kirbo Center’s grand opening events

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is a big week for the community as Bainbridge College hosts public grand opening events—all leading up to the Sunday dedication and celebration of the long-awaited $15 million Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center.

Preliminary festivities began Tuesday evening with a special performance by Blue Holler, a South Georgia Bluegrass group and the cast of Swamp Gravy who filled the new spectacular 508 seat auditorium with music and drama.

Balalaika, a Russian folk music group, will perform at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24. The group will also appear at the Early County site on Oct. 28, and on Oct. 29 will give a noon-time special performance for students at the Kirbo auditorium.

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All day Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the college plays host to the 10th Annual Georgia Literary Festival, featuring 20 Southern authors and seminars at the Kirbo Center.

This is the first year the traveling festival has made an appearance in Southwest Georgia.

Keynote address will be given by Bainbridge native and former Secretary of State Cathy Cox, now President of Young Harris College.

Following the keynote address there will be a series of free lectures, readings, panel discussions, book signings and information on writing family or local history. Attendees will be able to choose from four concurrent sessions each hour.

Many of the presenters names will be recognized by readers of The Post-Searchlight. They include Blakely native and NBC news correspondent Jay Barbree; Joye Cauthen, who will portray Caroline Miller – Georgia’s first writer to receive a Pulitzer Prize.

Others are humorous essayist Bailey White of Thomasville; Doug Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name, the New York Times best-selling book; former Atlanta Braves bullpen coach Bobby Dews, writer in residence at Andrew College in Cuthbert; Claire Matturro, Cairo mystery-crime writer; Jamie Brannon of Donalsonville; Bainbridge political writer Wynton Hall; and Basil Lucas.

One session sure to draw a crowd will be the 2 p.m. segment, “Writing Your Family and Local History,” a panel discussion led by esteemed local historians Mayo Livingston, Jack Wingate and John Cunningham.

At 4 p.m. Joe Livingston will lecture on his wife Jenny’s grandfather, Joe David Brown, author of Paper Moon.

Children’s activities and games, skits and story-telling and writing are planned to keep the youngsters busy on Saturday.

The event sponsored by the Georgia Center for the book and the Georgia Humanities Council is free and open to the public, thanks to the additional support received from several local sponsors.

Sunday, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. is the official dedication of the Kirbo Regional Center. It will feature an inaugural performance on the center’s grand piano, a reception, special honored guests, and public tours of the facility.