Sometime today an unsuspecting motorist will steer his car into the Gainesville-Hall County Welcome Center in search of a map or a restroom and will leave crowned as the center’s 1 millionth visitor. In honor of the event, Hall County is being renamed Y’all County.
In a full-fledged, pull-out-the-stops celebration, the Gainesville-Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau has joined forces with Y’all Magazine for a party complete with hot dogs and fried pies.
On top of that, Y’all, a Southern-themed magazine, has convinced the county to change its name to Y’all County for just the day.
Now, don’t worry, it’s just a ceremonial thing. No need to change that sticker on your auto tag or rewrite your tax check.
However, a proclamation declaring us Y’all County, albeit for just a day, has been made official by the Y’all County Commission. The magazine is featuring the county’s event in an upcoming edition and will be back next year for the Spring Chicken Festival for a contest centered on another Southern favorite, sweet tea.
And how do you readily identify visitor number 1 million?
"It’s no exact science," said Stacey Dickson, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Some people never sign the guest book, but we have well over 600,000 signatures."
She said with an average of 2.5 people per car, the actual number in the center’s 11-year history is already above the mark. The winner will receive a basket filled with an assortment of Hall County treats and memorabilia. There was no mention of the presentation of a key to the county, Hall or Y’all. As one would expect, the Y’all haul, will include poultry from the Poultry Capital of the World, which for today is the county seat of Y’all County. For the record, that’s still Gainesville.
The event is also a chance to show off the spruced up welcome center, which was taken over by the Convention and Visitors Bureau in July. The modular building now includes large color photos and maps of regional attractions, as well as brochures for Georgia attractions from Rabun Gap to Tybee Light.
Dickson said the revamped center is hopefully a precursor to a more attractive permanent welcome center.