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Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’ – Sunday, August 30

Crankin-logo1-300x225The Drake House provides transitional housing for homeless women and their families. Their small facility in Roswell stays full almost year round. They do tremendous work.

They also host one of the most unique food festivals in our area, Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’. We don’t often post events to this blog so you know this one is worth your time and a few of your hard-earned dollars. The cause is certainly worth it. Volunteers from the business and faith communities make some amazing homemade ice cream and offer samples. For a donation of $6 you get all you can eat. There are also activities for kids and families. For more information visit The event starts at 2:00 but we suggest you arrive early before the product melts in the hot August sun.

What: 11th Annual Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’. A fundraiser to benefit The Drake House.
Where: The Roswell Square
When: Sunday August 30 from 2:00 to 4:00
Cost: $6 per person, $20 per family

Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’ – Sunday, August 24

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

Crankin-logo1-300x225I write about the Drake House each year and their ice cream festival. We don’t often promote events here on Roots but this is one that’s unique and supports a cause worthy of getting behind.

The Drake House is a Roswell-based charity that provides transitional housing to homeless women and their families. I wrote about them in more detail in this space two years ago. If you’re not familiar with their work and mission then I encourage you to take a few minutes and read their website at

Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’ is the Drake House’s premier fundraising event. Volunteers from the business and faith communities make some amazing homemade ice cream and offer samples. For only $6 you’ll get as much as you care to eat. They’ve also got a handful of other contests for the kids.

The event starts at 2:00 but I always suggest folks get there early. The samples go fast. It also melts quickly in the hot August sun.

Here are the details:

What: 10th Annual Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’. A fundraiser to benefit The Drake House.
Where: The Roswell Square
When: Sunday August 24 from 2:00 to 4:00
Cost: $6 per person, $20 per family

Chili Cookoff for Alpharetta’s Public Safety Foundation

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

Chili_cookoff_Football 2013A unique chili fundraiser is growing and will be downtown this year. The event, previously held at a fire station in the Spring, raises money for the Alpharetta Public Safety Foundation. The charity provides funds and support for the city’s police and fire fighters.

For a small donation you’ll try dozens of chili samples made by firefighters and police. Kids can enjoy hot dogs, inflatable jumpies and face painting. The Georgia – Florida game will also be on the big screen TV.

What - Alpharetta’s Chili Cookoff
Who - Benefits the Alpharetta Public Safety Foundation
When - Saturday November 2nd 2:30 pm
Where - Old Roswell Street behind Smokejack
Cost - $10 for adults, $5 for children

Grilling and Gridiron Tailgate Party

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday. Today we feature a guest post from Jeanette Dummer.

grilling gridironThere are few social events in American culture that are more fun than going to a tailgate party, especially here in the South.  Every Saturday afternoon beginning in early September, thousands of the college football faithful park near their beloved stadiums and unlock the tailgates to their vehicles to engage in the seasonal rite that is grilling, drinking beer, and discussing the day’s game matchup. While tailgating is, in and of itself, a fun and worthwhile pursuit, how much better would it be if the grilling and beer drinking was for a charitable cause?

On Saturday, September 7, downtown Alpharetta will be the site of the city’s inaugural Grilling and Gridiron Tailgate event, hosted by and benefiting The Lionheart School. Different groups from the community as well as restaurants will be setting up tailgating displays and grills along Old Roswell Street to create mouthwatering dishes. Lionheart parents will be manning a ticket booth to sell bracelets that will allow participants to sample all food while a giant LED screen broadcasts the UGA vs. South Carolina game.

For those who want to sample the best beer that South Carolina and Georgia have to offer, a combined grilling & beer tasting bracelet can be purchased (beer tasting presented by Blind Murphy Craft Beer Market). For those folks who don’t care so much for the game, but love to browse local arts and crafts, students from the LionheARTisans program will be hosting a booth featuring items for sale. All participants will be eligible to vote on who will be named Alpharetta’s Grilling Champion.

Think of it as Food Truck Alley in a football atmosphere with a local philanthropic purpose; how very Alpharetta!

Click here for event details from the city of Alpharetta’s website

Click here to learn more about The Lionheart School

TICKET INFORMATION (click here to purchase tickets online):

$15 for Grilling tasting only bracelet
$25 for Grilling tasting and Beer tasting bracelet
$250 for a reserved table near the screen with eight (8) Grilling and Beer Tasting bracelets


12:00 – 3:00   Move in and set up for booths, grills, and screen
2:00 – 3:30    Grilling
3:00                Tailgate judging, entertainment begins
3:00                Sale of bracelets for grill tasting and beer tasting starts, grill tasting starts
4:30                Game starts
5:00                Grill tasting and beer tasting ends

Halftime Awards Ceremony:

Grillmaster of Alpharetta – Best in Show
Best Beef
Best Chicken
Best Tailgate
Best of the Rest

Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin and Town Hall Roswell Dining Out

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

We don’t post events often on this blog. But if there’s something unique about the event or we have commentary to offer then by all means we’ll promote. This month two upcoming foodie events in Roswell are worth your attention.

Crankin-logo1-300x225The first is Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’. This is a homemade ice cream festival that offers unlimited tastings for only six bucks. There’s some outstanding ice cream to be enjoyed. It all benefits The Drake House, a charity that offers transitional housing to homeless women and their families. Last year in this article I wrote in more detail about this terrific charity. If you’re not familiar with their work then I encourage you to take a few minutes to learn more.

The event will be held on Sunday August 25th from 2:00 – 4:00 at the Roswell Square. I’d get there right at 2:00 if I were you. More information can be found at

Next is an event put on by Roswell Next called Town Hall Roswell – Dining Out. The event will feature a panel discussion hosted by several of Roswell’s celebrated restauranteurs. Among those speaking will be Ryan Pernice (Table & Main), Hicham Anzari (Salt Factory, Little Alley Steak and Opulent) and Rich Clark (Hugo’s Oyster Bar and C&S Seafood). These guys helped shape the face of OTP dining so bring your best questions!

It takes place on Thursday August 22nd from 7:00 – 9:00 at the Roswell Historic Cottage. Cost is $15 for non-members or bring a food donation. Look for more details on the event’s webpage or RSVP on Facebook.

Alpharetta Retail News – July 2013

The pace of new restaurant and retail openings is starting to pick up after a slow spring. It’s enough that I need to split this monthly column into two separate posts. Stay tuned on Friday for a very long list of new restaurants. In the meantime, here’s a few new retail and entertainment options to look forward to.

Bowling and family entertainment center Stars and Strikes will open a new location on Highway 9 just into Sandy Springs. Look for them south of the river near Dunwoody Place. Expect a November 2013 opening.

And as reported first on this blog, Alpharetta will hear plans next month for a bowling alley near North Point Mall. I should remind readers that this is by no means a done deal. The city’s Planning Commission will hear their case before going to City Council.

AMC’s new theater at the mall is coming along. Drive by the back of the mall if you’re in the area. And I keep hearing rumors that a restaurant may joint the theater at some point. And rounding out the entertainment options is Top Golf. The new facility is clearing land along West Side Parkway. No opening date has been announced but I would imagine it’ll be into next year.

Retail Charity – Two local charities have plans for new retail stores, and I’m not talking thrift stores here. The first is south Forsyth-based No Longer Bound. This charity treats men suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. They plan to open a hand-crafted furniture store called The Boutique by No Longer Bound. Look for them to open very soon at 1790 Peachtree Parkway.

The Drake House is a Roswell-based charity that provides transitional housing to homeless women and their families. The charity operates a women’s boutique called The Drake Closet that sells new and used ladies clothes and accessories. They plan to open a second location in downtown Alpharetta on Old Roswell Street behind Smokejack.

Muse Salon and Spa has plans to leave Alpharetta for fancy new digs in Johns Creek. They’re in the process of converting the former Dolce Vita restaurant at 11705 Medlock Bridge Road. And a little up the road into south Forsyth you’ll soon find a new location of Spa Sydell. They’re taking over the former Sandra Gane space.

And keep an eye on things in Forsyth County. The Collection (fka The Avenue) will see a few new faces. Women’s boutique Altar’d State will soon open here. Plans for a small hotel are still in the works. And also look for a new Racetrac convenience store to begin construction across the street.

Forsyth’s third Wal-Mart should begin construction soon near Target on Peachtree Parkway. Unfortunately Forsyth’s proposed location of Costco Wholesale appears to be dead according to news reports. I’ve heard they are looking at other locations. I’ve also learned that the former Up The Creek restaurant building in Cumming will be demolished to make way for a small four unit shopping center.

Growler wars - They continue unabated. Blind Murphy is running with their recent victory at City Hall. They’ve started selling flights of beer to be consumed at their store. But competitors are pouring into the market. Draft Beer Market is very close to opening on Jones Bridge Road in Johns Creek. They will have a staggering 60 taps of beer. And Roswell’s Ale Yeah is moving their location up the street to be a little closer to the action. Meanwhile in Milton at least two gas stations are now filling growlers, further turning this business into a commodity.

And finally, a battle might be looming in downtown Alpharetta. The city is considering limits on what types of businesses can open on the ground floor of buildings in the historic district. This one will be fun to watch.

Domestic violence claims victim in Alpharetta

The juxtaposition of these two headlines really jumped out today. Knowing the staff at the Appen Newspapers, I’m sure it was not an accident. The same day the paper writes a story about domestic violence awareness a woman dies of wounds suffered in a domestic violence incident. The online cover of the newspaper was ironic, chilling and poignant at the same time.

We’re fortunate that murders are extremely rare in this community but they do happen. What’s less rare, unfortunately, is domestic violence. Charities like Family Haven in Forsyth County play such a vital role and should be supported.

Please join me in offering thoughts and prayers for this family. I hope justice is served.

Windward NFCC Food Drive and LexisNexis 5k

There are two events along Windward in the coming weeks that are worthy of mentioning here on Roots. Please consider participating if you are able.

3rd Annual Windward Food Drive

The Windward neighborhood will host their annual food drive to benefit North Fulton Community Charities. Their food bank is always in need of donations, especially as the school year starts. Items currently in high demand are peanut butter, tuna fish, canned meat, breakfast cereal, canned fruit and diapers sizes 3, 4 and 5. You need not be a resident of Windward to participate. For more information, email Jim Gilvin at

What: Windward Food Drive
When: Saturday September 8th, 9:00am – noon
Where: Windward Boat Launch

Windward Challenge 5K Charity Run/Walk

LexisNexis will again host a charity run/walk event at their headquarters just off Windward on Alderman Drive. Participants of all ages are welcome to participate in the family-friendly event, which will include a timed and untimed 5K race as well as post-race activities for children. Proceeds will benefit KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to saving play for America’s children.

What: LexisNexis Windward Challenge 5K Run/Walk
When: Wednesday, September 19, 2012; 6:30pm
Where: LexisNexis, 1000 Alderman Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30005
Register: Online at

The Drake House and Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

I used to be a Drake House doubter. I recall sitting in a pew at Alpharetta Presbyterian Church listening to our minister talk about the need for transitional homeless housing in north Fulton. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. Surely this kind of program is needed in Atlanta or elsewhere. There’s no way our affluent suburb would have a housing problem for homeless women and their families. Right?

The weeks went by and I listened to our preacher get more and more excited about the program. Soon a few big donors came to bat. Next came some leaders who facilitated the purchase of an old apartment building in Roswell. I continued to doubt.

Before long our church was sponsoring an apartment and participating in its renovation. We were also kicking in mission funds to the charity, something we continue to do today. But I really didn’t begin to believe in the mission of the Drake House until I started to hear success stories. Unfortunately it took all that work to convince this stubborn doubter of the need for such a project.

Today, amidst a prolonged economic downtown, the Drake House plays a critically vital role in this community. Since their founding in 2006 they’ve helped over 200 single mothers and their families get back on their feet. I encourage you to spend a few minutes on their website and make yourself more familiar with this remarkable local charity.

So why am I talking about the Drake House in my Foodie Friday column? Because they sponsor one of the coolest (ha ha), most unique foodie festivals around. Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankinis the Drake House’s premier fund raising event, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars. It is also your best chance to sample genuine homemade ice cream. With today’s absurd proliferation of frozen yogurt joints, I appreciate a bowl of honest-to-goodness ice cream. And I challenge you to find ice cream better than the stuff they’ll dish out at this event on Sunday.

At only five bucks for all you can eat, this event is an exceptional value. The fact that it benefits this awesome local charity is like having whipped cream and a cherry on top! There’s a ton of other activities for kids and families as well.

If you’re there for the ice cream, take this advice… get there early! The event starts at 2:00. There never seems to be enough crankers to meet demand. If there’s anything left by 3:00, the chances are good that the August sun will have turned it into goo. I’d suggest getting there a little before 2:00 with spoon at the ready.

Here are the details:

What: 8th Annual Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’. A fundraiser to benefit The Drake House.
Where: The Roswell Square
When: Sunday August 26 from 2:00 to 4:00
Cost: $5 per person, $20 per family

Que & Brew – Barbeque and beer for a good cause

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

Crabapple’s much anticipated new barbeque restaurant, Grand Champion BBQ, will partner with Sweetwater Brewery for a good cause. The two are hosting a fundraiser called Que & Brew to raise money for Brandon Matos. Brandon, a Pope High School graduate, is paralyzed from the chest down following a terrible diving accident and is undergoing daily treatments.

The event will feature barbeque, beer from Sweetwater and local bands. Unfortunately the event is in Atlanta but is worth the drive. This is a great opportunity to sample Grand Champion’s grub ahead of their arrival in Crabapple next month. It also helps a deserving young man who needs assistance.

What: Que & Brew
When: Tuesday June 26th from 7-10pm
Where: Sweetwater Brewery, 195 Ottley Drive in Atlanta
Cost: $30

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