Phoenix Affaire Rise Weekend begins Friday, February 23

FRIDAY, February 23
The official start to the 16th year anniversary of the Phoenix Affaire RISE! Weekend is Friday, February 23rd. Opening night festivities include a Photography, Artifacts and Oral History exhibition and VIP Reception gala inside the Firehouse Arts Center in historic downtown Bainbridge. Again, Jack Hadley of the Jack Hadley Black History Museum of Thomasville, Georgia will keynote the opening night event and a brief address from Museum Curator, Kathryn Lillethun, of the Decatur County Historical Genealogical Society Museum in Bainbridge will also highlight the night. Both local historians will help spread new and insightful light on the often forgotten history of Native and African American relationships during slavery and the post-Civil War era. Also part of the big night will be the awarding of several “unsung” community heroes of Bainbridge and Decatur County. Tickets for this event, without the purchase of the fashion show ticket, are $15, advance; $20, door. Doors open at 6pm. Fashion show tickets include free entry into the Opening Night Gala.

SATURDAY, February 24
It’s a chock full day of events as the RISE! Weekend goes into full swing on Saturday, February 24th. Kicking things off is the Phoenix Affaire’s 1st Annual Veterans Honor March & Parade being produced by locally-known community leader, Billy Ward, Chairman of the Phoenix Affaire Group’s Executive Steering Committee. Believed to be the first such march and parade of its kind for the city, it starts at 9 a.m. from the American Legion Post #502 on Vada Road and ends with a wreath-laying ceremony at the veterans memorial wall inside Willis Park (on the Square) in historic downtown Bainbridge.

Almost simultaneously, the annual BHM Community Entrepreneurs Sidewalk Sale (also known as Betty’s Umbrellas on North Broad Street) opens up to the public at 9 a.m. as well. Local black entrepreneurs, small minority business owners and freelancers get a once-a-year opportunity during Black History Month to showcase their products while being inspired about the benefits of free enterprise and economic empowerment within the local black community. The sidewalk sale happens on N. Broad Street between Market St. & MLK Jr., Dr. along a stretch of historic downtown Bainbridge that once was a thriving black business district during the late 50s, 60s and 70s. This is a free and open to the public event. If bad weather, the event will move indoors to the Firehouse Arts Center.

Meanwhile, a “pop-up” local black history exhibit that’s also free and open to the public will be on display inside the Jimmy Harrell Gallery at the Firehouse Arts Center from 10 a.m. until 2p.m. (alongside the sidewalk sale if moved indoors because of bad weather). And, local history lovers are encouraged to visit the nearby Decatur County Historical and Genealogical Society Museum on the Square in downtown Bainbridge where more local black history artifacts provided by the Phoenix Affaire Group may be on exhibit. The museum opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday with free admission.

Later Saturday evening, it’s the annual return of Rahn d. Fudge’s legendary (at least in these parts) “Phoenix Affaire” BHM fashion-theatre & supper club show. Community volunteer models take to the “catwalk with a cause” to not only celebrate Black History Month but to also help raise money for a private, people-helping-people fund called the “I RISE!” Emergency Fund being developed by the Phoenix Affaire Group. The fashion show takes place in the Callahan Room of the Firehouse Arts Center. Doors open at 6pm. Advance tickets, $25; $30, door and includes a three-course pre-fix supper.
Fashion show tickets include free entry into the Friday Opening Night Gala.

SUNDAY, February 25
A full week of activity comes to a foot-stomping, hand-clapping close and the Black History Month spotlight turns onto honoring local black youth. It’s the first-ever “RISE! & SHINE! Youth Awards Brunch which happens at 1 p.m. at the Firehouse Arts Center as a precursor to the annual “Gospel in the Park” event on Sunday, February 25th. Gospel bands, choirs and singers bring the 16th year Anniversary of the Phoenix Affaire RISE! Weekend to a rousing close. The gospel event will also focus on black healthcare and wellness concerns within the local African-American community.

For more detailed information or to purchase tickets, please contact us locally at 229.416.4590 or 415.312.7164, otherwise. To email us,

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