The John Jarrard Foundation has grown quite a bit over the years. It’s gone from hosting its annual benefit concert on the lawn at the Smithgall Arts Center to taking up the entire front lawn at Brenau University to starting a lake show at Lake Lanier Olympic Park.
That lake show is in its fourth year, and this time around will be a little different.
John Jarrard Foundation Lake Show
Where: 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville
When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday, June 9
How much: $20; VIP tables $500
More info: www.johnjarrardfoundation.com
“This year is definitely unique,” said Jody Jackson, executive director of the foundation. “We have a big fireworks show.”
The John Jarrard Foundation Lake Show will be 6-10 p.m. Saturday, June 9.
With a wakeboard competition coming in the next day, the foundation partnered to have a fireworks show for guests.
Jackson said they expect over 1,200 people to be at the event , which supports local charities like the Good News Clinics, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier and Georgia Mountain Food Bank.
“They’re all charities that were near and dear to John Jarrard when he lived in Gainesville,” Jackson said. “So we’ve kind of stayed along those lines when it comes to support.”
Gainesville native John Jarrard was a successful songwriter who wrote hit songs for performers such as Don Williams, Alabama, George Strait and Tracy Lawrence. He battled diabetes before his death in 2001.
People of all ages from all over the county usually come to the event. Whether it be by boat, renting a table or setting up a lawn chair, Jackson said the dancing never stops. The lake show is a little more high energy than the event at Brenau since the music is a little more high energy.
This year, the Atlanta Funk Society will headline the event, with Mellow Steel opening.
“They play all kind of great dance music from the ’60s and ’70s I think people will love,” Jackson said. “They’re just a great band. And then opening up, we have a reggae band. A true, authentic reggae band.”
When guests aren’t dancing, they’ll have the chance to enter a raffle for a Big Green Egg and other prizes. There will be a few food trucks to try out along with beer and wine. Jackson said it’s the perfect venue since it’s terraced. They can sell tables for people to sit at or just general admission tickets, making everyone happy.
“It’s a fun event,” Jackson said. “It’s kind of like a kickoff to summer. That’s what we like to call it. The kickoff to summer on Lake Lanier.”
At the end of the day, Jackson said they just want to bring good music for the community to listen to while raising money for charities. That’s what it’s all about for the John Jarrard Foundation.
And that’s what they’ve done. This event alone brings in at least $50,000. The foundation has given almost $2 million to charities through the years.
“We just like to provide good musical entertainment in John Jarrard’s name and do it for a good cause,” Jackson said.