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Lake Lanier set for all-day fun with John Jarrard Lake Show, Georgia Wake Series
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Attendees wait in line for food and refreshments during the 4th annual John Jarrard Foundation Lake Show at Lake Lanier Olympic Park in Gainesville. - photo by David Barnes

The John Jarrard Foundation is ready to kick off summer with its fifth-annual Lake show.

The concert, set to take place 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park will feature live music, food trucks and drinks. And if you’re looking for even more fun, show up early and catch the third stop on the Georgia Wake Series wakeboard competition on Lake Lanier.

“I can guarantee it’s going to be the best party going on June 1,” said Jody Jackson, executive director of the John Jarrard Foundation. “I know it will be a great event.”

John Jarrard Lake Show

What: Concert benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier, Good News Clinics, Good News at Noon, SISU and Georgia Mountain Food Bank

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Park, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville

More info:

How much: $20 for general admission, $25 for two tickets if you come by boat, $500 for a table of six with drink and meal tickets included

Tickets for the Lake show are $20 for general admission. You can come by boat, too, and get two tickets for $25. If you’d rather have a table at the event, you can reserve one for $500 and get six meal tickets and 12 drink tickets. If you’d like to be a sponsor and get your own tables that way, prices start at $1,000.

John Jarrard, a Gainesville native, died in 2001 after a long battle with Type 1 diabetes. Before his death, Jarrard was a songwriter whose music was recorded and performed by acts like Don Williams, Alabama, George Strait and Tracy Lawrence. He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

“John, he was just an amazing guy and was an inspiration,” Jackson said. “He just had a lot of charisma and a lot of people really, really liked John. He’s just a hometown hero and when he passed away, I think people wanted to remember John.”

The foundation, set up by other local musicians and friends of Jarrard, has raised money for numerous charities in Hall County since his death. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier, Good News Clinics, Good News at Noon, SISU and Georgia Mountain Food Bank all benefit from the foundation’s concerts.

The Lake Show is the perfect setting for a concert and reminds Jackson of his time in Nashville, where artists would perform near the Cumberland River. He wanted to bring that kind of event to Gainesville and the Lake Lanier Olympic Park was just the spot.

“It’s just a great place,” Jackson said. “It’s just a beautiful, beautiful venue. So it’s a lot of fun for this type of event.”

This year, Lori Hall and the Soul Shakers will be performing, and Kebbi Williams from the Tedeschi Trucks Band is opening the show. With the mix of music, Jackson is hoping everybody will find something they like. If past concerts are any indication, they will. Attendees are usually out of their seats dancing along to whatever music is playing.

“(Lori Hall) is incredible and she sings everything from country to soul to blues to gospel,” Jackson said. “It’s party music, dance music. There will be a little bit of everything.”

Not only is Lake Lanier Olympic Park an inviting environment that allows live music, fireworks and food trucks like Oba! Brazilian CuisineEl Griton Mexican Grill and Daddy’s Girl Gourmet Dogs, but it’s one of the stops on the Georgia Wake Series, a wakeboard competition that travels the state.

Georgia Wake Series

What: Wakeboard competition

When: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 1

Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Park, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville

More info:

How much: Free to attend

“It’s a really good way to showcase what wakeboarding is,” said Brandon Lee, director of Georgia Wake Series.

The competition has eight stops and is what Lee said is a “grassroots” competition, meaning anyone — novice or expert — can join. Walk-up registration is $75 or $50 in advance. Riders must also have World Wake Association insurance, which is $30 for a one-time event.

Georgia Wake Series makes stop in Hall County

A Hall County event marked the third stop for Georgia Wake Series' 2018 season on Sunday, June 10, 2018.
By: Kaylee Martin

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“It really is grassroots,” Lee said. “There are riders that have only been riding for a couple months that are going out there and competing, so it’s not just for the experienced people.”

The two organizations partnered together last year, but the concert and competition were on different days. This year, they’re on the same day, so families can make an entire day of it by watching the wakeboard competition from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. then hanging around for the concert later.

“Theirs is during the day and ours is more of a nighttime event,” Jackson said. “So we got together and kind of made a whole day of it and it should be something really neat because you‘ve got a lot of spectators out there watching the wakeboard competition and it will kind of flow right into our show.”

Riders in the wakeboard competition will ride behind a boat from the Olympic tower to the opposite side of the grandstands, performing their best tricks. The boat will turn around and head back toward the tower while riders do more tricks. Once they reach the dock, their run is complete.

“It will hopefully expose wakeboarding and what we’re doing to more people that will be coming to the concert,” Lee said. “It also gives our participants and spectators that are already coming, something bigger than what’s going on, with the concert and food and all that immediately after that. So it turns into a bigger weekend than it would be.”

Partnering with the wakeboard series was an obvious step for the John Jarrard Foundation to take. Jackson said it’s what Jarrard would have wanted, and any excuse to bring more people to the venue and raise more money for charity is a good excuse in Jackson’s eyes.

“I knew John in Nashville and he loved events like this,” Jackson said. “People getting together and having great music and fellowship and fun, that’s what John Jarrard was all about.”

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