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Hall County gets 1 millionth visitor at Exit 12 welcome center
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Ken Smith was driving north on Interstate 985 around noon Friday when nature called.

Y’all answered.

As in Y’all County, the name given to Hall County for 24 hours as part of a celebration of the revamped welcome center just south of Exit 12.

Smith and his wife, Ann, who had merely stopped to take a restroom break after leaving their home in Lawrenceville, suddenly became celebrities.

"We were just driving up the road," said Smith, dressed in a checked flannel shirt and sneakers.

He became the 1 millionth visitor at the 11-year-old welcome center. He was given a gift basket with an assortment of items from Hall County and Northeast Georgia.

He, like the 50 guests at the event, had never been to Y’all County, the temporary name given to Hall in conjunction with Y’all Magazine, a Southern-themed publication.

Among Smith’s haul is a T-shirt emblazoned with "Y’all," which will serve as a reminder of his fateful day in Y’all County.

Y’all County Commissioner Billy Powell read the official proclamation which temporarily converted Hall to Y’all. Powell said the county, Hall, that is, has a reputation as the "Hospitality Capital of the South."

Stacey Dickson, president of the Gainesville-Hall County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said the event was a successful launch of the revamped welcome center, which now includes a number of signs welcoming visitors to the region.

The center now has free Wi-Fi access for computer users who stop along the way.

The bureau is hopeful of building a permanent welcome center at the site in accordance with the Vision 2030 planning process.