By Lawton Baggs
The Tate Day Festival will occur on Saturday, November 2nd. Neal and Barbara Walters will serve as Grand Marshals for the parade. The parade will organize on the grounds of Cool Springs Baptist Church and begin moving at 10 a.m. making its way through the streets of the small village. Marble Valley Friends, sponsor of the day’s activities, realize that some readers and visitors may not be acquainted with Mr. and mrs. Walters. Allow us to tell you a little about them and why they are honoring us as Grand Marshal on the occasion.
Neal and Barbara only arrived in Tate in 2014. They relocated to Tate from Penn Yan, New York - upper New York state (when you meet them, ask about the name Penn Yan). Following retirement, they wanted to move somewhere nearer their children and grandchildren. Their choices were a son teaching in Japan or a son with children living in Canton, Georgia. Happily for Tate and this area, they chose here.
Upon arrival, the Walters did not spend much time “getting acquainted”; they just “got busy” in community affairs. Both are active in the Tate United Methodist Church. They are regularly involved in the Weekend Snack Program preparing about 500 snack packages weekly for school children’s weekend nutrition. Barbara plays piano for services. Additionally, she is an active member of Tate’s Amicalola Garden Club. Both are busy members of Marble Valley Friends, the historic preservation organization headquartered in the Old Tate Gym. Once the parade ends, visitors will see Neal and Barbara at other work sites during the day. It anyone wishes to join the Walters in the parade, contact parade organizer James Morris at 770-735-3804.
As the parade ends, attention will center on the outdoor stage across Hwy. 53 from the drug store, in and around the Tate Depot where art, crafts and information exhibits will be set up, and toward the Old Tate Gym/ Tate school complex. On the stage a variety of entertainments are scheduled. Also, attention will be directed toward an area church that has entertainments are scheduled. Also, attention will be directed toward an area church that has positively affected the history and culture of this region. This year the church spotlight shines on Bethesda Baptist Church. Shuttle busses will also begin running to the Tate marble quarry, one of the largest open-pit quarries in the world.
At the quarry, visitors will be visually amazed by the open space indicating the amount of marble that has been removed and even more amazed by the amount still available. A knowledgeable, long-time employee of Polycor Georgia Marble Company will be on-site to explain the quarrying operation.
The Old Tate Gym will host a barbecue lunch, a cake bake-off competition (with samples sold and votes taken), mini-class reunions representative of Tate High School days during lunch, and a memorial service for Marble Valley Friends members and friends. Anyone wishing to pre-order lunch or to have exhibitors’ booth space should contact MVF member Penny Davis at 770-735-2564.
The current Tate Elementary School building was constructed following a fire that destroyed the previous building. It was completed in 1928 and has continued to serve Pickens County students for 91 years now. In that period of time, this building has housed students from kindergarten age through high school graduation. It is believed to be the only marble school building in the world. Lisa Barnett, a veteran Tate School teacher, will again conduct walking tours of this historic structure for those wishing to see it and learn more of its uses through the years. (On a personal note, this writer is delighted to have a granddaughter teaching at Tate Elementary School and a great-granddaughter attending 2nd grade here.)
Even before the parade, Tate School’s PTO will sponsor a 5K run to begin Tate Day at a fast pace. Throughout the day, Tate United Methodist Church will conduct a yard sale. The marble company, Tate School, Old Tate Gym, the Tate House and the old Village are all listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. All are available for drive-by viewing.
It is difficult to understand that everything listed in this article is available to the public in the small area called Tate and on one day. But, Tate Day, 2019 is just such a day. On November 2nd come check it out. And meet Neal and Barbara Walters.