Leila S. Case: Weekend events reach No. 1 on Hit Parade chart

Published 12:48 pm Sunday, March 3, 2019

A pair of back to back public events resulted in awesome experiences in Americus/Sumter. If you attended either one, you’ll know, but if not I’ll share a few highlights and there were many.
The second annual Women’s Wine & Chocolate Walk in downtown Americus last Saturday afternoon was so much fun. It was all about sipping wine, seeing old as well as new friends and munching chocolate. More than 350 women attended including former resident Jennifer Buchanan DeLong who drove from Destin, Florida, especially for the event presented by Americus Main Street. Premier wine sponsor was Allie’s Boutique & More while the chocolatier sponsor was Quick Fix Family Convenient Care.
We exchanged our ticket for a gift bag at Center Stage Market and passport guide to the 10 venues and were warmly welcomed with big smiles by Qaijuan Willis, Main Street program coordinator, and event committee Ursula Wright, Ashley Jones, Angie Flegel, Dawn McNear, Cathy Partridge, and Cori Lyman-Barner. Applause to this group for the excellent pre-planning.
I joined Sheila Snell, Donna Minich, Katie Minich, and Lissa Marsh for the afternoon rounds and we even got our exercise in walking from West Forsyth to Jackson and West Lamar streets and back again. First stop was Americus Arts Center’s newly opened gallery and welcomed by Brooks Nettum and Cate Bailey, board members, as well as Jeff Williams — this month’s featured artist. At Allie’s Boutique & More Americus Mayor Barry Blount assisted as a wine pourer; at the recently opened Artfully Arranged Floral Shop the pretty owner Jennifer Slenker was busy creating bouquets to go. Hulme Kinnebrew and staff warmly welcomed everyone at the Kinnebrew Co. where Charles Christmas, city council member, was the wine pourer. We stopped in at Gyro City Mediterranean Grill where Wael Zahrouni, owner and Main Street board member, offered tasty hummus and fried pita bread samples. Delicious. I wanted to pull up a chair and linger longer. But it was time to move along to other sites and we didn’t miss one. They were 2LC Bakery, Café Campesino, Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio, The Maze, Little Brother’s Bistro, and I popped into Scott’s Jewelry in hopes of finding a diamond by sifting through sand. Unfortunately, I was out of luck.
Altogether, the event was an overwhelming success and a delightful experience.
Sunday afternoon, I joined about 30 others, including a few from Albany, in Plains for Sumter Historic Trust’s 2019 history tour series. This was no ordinary tour. It was exceptional. As many times as I have been to Plains, home of President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter, we visited places I’d not been before — like the circa 1850s “haunted house” at one time the home and office of Dr. Sam Wise, who with his brothers, Dr. Thad Wise and Dr. Bowman Wise, founded the famous Wise Hospital, now Lillian Carter Health & Rehab. I think I saw a ghost there.
We gathered at the old Plains High School, now a museum and part of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (NHS), and were welcomed by Meredith Owen, Trust president, Lee Kinnamon and Kim Christmas, education committee co-chairmen, and tour guide Kim Carter Fuller, executive director of the Friends of Jimmy Carter NHS. She conducted a stellar and interesting excursion of this unique city of 700. We jumped on the Americus City Trolley and as we rolled along Kim kept our attention, relating Carter family “secrets” and humorous stories. A surprise ride through the Carters’ compound was an extra special treat that is not offered in tours. The landscaped grounds facing the Carters’ home are amazing. I once stood in that same spot during many news conferences and even caught a glimpse of Robert Redford when the movie actor visited the Carters years ago.
Of course, you can’t visit Plains without going home with a sack full of fried peanuts and peanut butter ice cream from Salter’s Store. The Trust’s next tour is in Andersonville on Sunday afternoon April 28. Mark your calendars. I’ll see you there.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.