By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Lawrenceville’s Fall Festival “Fair On The Square” 2015 Supports Local Schools & the Arts! 
By Sylvia Culberson

Fair On The Square (FOTS) is a Georgia Non-profit Organization. Each year the festival donates funds to help support other local non-profits. In 2015 FOTS will join forces with The Aurora Theatre to raise funds for students in Title I schools. 

What is Title I? 

Title I is a federal grant program designed to give educational assistance to students living in areas of high poverty. The Title I program originated in 1965 when Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and was reauthorized in 2001 with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.  

Title I provides assistance to schools with a high percentage of low income students. These are students that often have little or no access to The Arts. Because The Aurora Theatre is dedicated to  training the next generation of artists and performers, as well as to fostering a love of theatre among the public, Aurora has agreed to partner with FOTS as we raise funds to provide students from Title I schools in Lawrenceville with art and theatre experiences including classes and tickets to performances. 
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FOTS is Seeking Performers 
Music and live performances have become an important part of the FOTS experience. Each year FOTS features acts by talented local singers, dancers, musicians and more. We are always searching for talented individuals who would like to perform on our entertainment stage. Anyone interested in performing for the exposure should send a performance/audition video to faironthesquare@ymail.com for consideration.  

How It All Began
It all began with the arrival of Rita's Italian Ice at 169 W Pike St, Lawrenceville on September 26, 2008. Rita’s, owned by Francine and Anthony Coston, was a welcome addition to the downtown square, serving 40 flavors of Italian ice and frozen custard. In 2009 Francine and Anthony decided to thank the community for their warm welcome by putting on a one-year anniversary celebration at the Historic Courthouse across the street from their store. That first celebration included only a handful of local vendors. By year two (2010), other local businesses were invited and vendor participation rose to 29. In year three (2011) the event was christened with a new name “Fair On The Square” and blossomed to 80 vendors and 3000 attendees.

Over the years the entertainment stage has seen participation from several community groups including the Lawrenceville Community Children's Choir, Tiger Marshall Arts Tae Kwon Do demonstrations, Clogging Connection and the Collins Hill High School Dance Company. The entertainment stage also attracted young local talent including sister singing group Amor Kismet, teenage country artist David Leon, family friendly rappers Nicky Will and NeCe, a young woman with a message against bullying. Band performances included The McCray’s, Charlie and the Foxtrots, Misery Loves Chachi, Three & Twenty and The Swank.

By 2013 the courthouse grounds could no longer contain the festival so Clayton Street was closed to provide additional space. This was also the year that Lawrenceville Fall Festival, LLC became an official Georgia non-profit organization.

Fair On The Square 2014 truly encompassed the entire downtown square with over 100 vendor spaces covering the Historic Courthouse grounds as well as the surrounding streets (Clayton, Crogan and Perry). The fair brought new attention to the Lawrenceville Farmer’s Market and downtown businesses from Local Republic to Honest Alley, since a great number of attendees were discovering Downtown Lawrenceville for the very first time. Promoting the businesses on the downtown square has always been a major focus for the Lawrenceville Fall Festival. We want all of Metro Atlanta to know what a gem we have here on “The Square”

Back in 2009 Francine and Anthony wanted to find a way to help the community while they celebrated, so they asked attendees to donate non-perishable foods for the Lawrenceville Co-op. The Co-op remained the featured non-profit for the first three years of the festival. Starting in 2012 a different beneficiary was chosen each year: 2012-Central Gwinnett Cluster Foundation, 2013-Quinn House, and 2014-Creative Enterprises, Inc.

Sadly, Rita’s closed in 2012, however the event they created still remains. This year the 7th Lawrenceville Fall Festival - Fair On The Square will take place on September 19, 2015 with lots of exciting new things to come.

For more information visit our website: www.lawrencevillefallfestival.com