Category Archives: Activities

Public Parks and Green-Space

Chattooga County is committed to providing public green-space and parks for the citizens and visitors of Chattooga County. Chattooga County is home to many beautiful parks and centers for everyone to enjoy.
Summerville is  home to two public-use parks, J.R. “Dick” Dowdy Park is located at the intersection of Highway-27 and University Street. Dowdy Park is home to countless activities throughout the year, from Relay for Life to birthday parties. The park has a walking track, gazebos, a playground, and the Summerville Railroad Turntable. The historic Couey House is also located here. The park hosts the “Steam Into Summerville” Railroad Days throughout the year and provides visitors a link to the past. Easily accessed from downtown Summerville, the park is also home to a “Pickin in the Park” Chapter and many of Better Hometown’s programs. The park also hosts arts and music festivals throughout the year.
Willow Spring Park, with its distinctive Willow Trees, is located atthe intersection of Highway-27 and First Street. The park was built to commemorate the importance of the spring to the foundation of Summerville. When John Beavers ceded land to Chattooga County after the county’s founding, he selected the area for the county seat based on the availability of water from Willow Spring. The park has a pavilion, picnic tables, and a small walking track.Trion is home the city’s track field. The field has a playground, walking track, and the Rosser Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion. Trion also has the county’s only golf course, Trion Golf Course. The course is a public course and open year-round.
Menlo and Lyerly are also home to local parks, some in conjunction with local schools. Menlo’s Tillotson Complex is home to baseball and softball fields. The Tillotson Complex also is home to the Northwest Georgia Festival of Balloons each year. Lyerly’s McLeod Park is also open for public use. The center has baseball and softball fields, a playground, and other recreation areas.
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Charlie Lowry’s 4L Summerville Rodeo

The Lowry 4L Summerville Rodeo is an official open rodeo event held every year at the Lowry's Ranch south of Summerville. The event has become an integral part of the Spring season in Chattooga County. The event is held on the third weekend in May each year at the Lowry's Ranch on 3198 Farmersville Road. The 4L Rodeo Company is one of the most outstanding rodeo stock contracting companies in the southeastern United States.  Founded in 1985 by champion calf roper and steer wrestler Charlie Lowry, the company has grown from five small productions its first year to producing over 25 events a year. 4L Rodeo host PRCA, IPRA, NIRA and high school rodeos and rough stock schools.  In 2009 Lowry widened his vision for 4L Rodeo Company by becoming partners with David Simpson, Diamond S Bucking Bulls, Weatherford, Texas forming the 4L and Diamond S Rodeo Company.  The new company has provided stock for numerous rodeos such as Cheyenne, Omaha, Odessa, San Antonio and Fort Worth.  4L & Diamond S Rodeo have provided bulls for the PRCA Xtreme Bulls as well as the Wrangler National Final Rodeo in Las Vegas. Charlie Lowry, the three-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, holds seventeen championship titles in the PRCA Southeastern Circuit.  In 1978, he set an arena record at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in the calf roping.  In 1981 Lowry claimed the All-Around Cowboy title at the famous Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming.  Along with his list of his many personal accolades this life-long cowboy was named the 2002 & 2012 Stock Contractor of the Year by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. For the Lowry family, rodeoing is a way of life. Charlie and his wife Wanda, a retired teacher, travel to all their rodeos as a team. Wanda serves as a rodeo timer.  She is author of a children’s book, TRICKY RICKY, Born to Buck.  The Lowry’s have two children that have always been involved in the sport of rodeo both attending colleges on rodeo scholarships.  Ross, the Lowry’s 44-year-old son, is the 2001 Southeastern Circuit Champion Team Roping Heeler and the 2009 & 2012 Southeastern Circuit Champion Team Roping Header.  Ross’s wife Leann, Summerville Middle School Assistant Principal, competes in the barrel racing and breakaway roping.  The Lowry’s daughter, Jolyn King, is the former rodeo coach at the University of Arkansas at Monticello and is an accomplished barrel racer and breakaway roper. She is a Special Education teacher at Leroy Massey Elementary School.  Jason, Jolyn’s husband serves as one of the pick-up men for the rodeo company.  The entire family resides on the 4L Ranch in Summerville where they are all involved in the Rodeo Stock Contracting business. According to Charlie, rodeo has been good to his family.  “Rodeo has not only provided a livelihood and a common bond for our family,” says Lowry “it has provided an opportunity to make and develop friendships that last a lifetime.” The 4L Ranch Home Rodeo is scheduled for May 19th and 20th at the Lowry’s covered arena located on Farmersville Rd. just off Highway 27 South of Summerville. Gates open each night at 6pm with the event beginning at 8pm.  Seven fast paced rodeo events will be held each night featuring some of the top cowboys and cowgirls in the Southeastern PRCA Circuit.  During the Friday night performance, a Special Challenge has been scheduled between four area schools.  A teacher representing each school will participate in a horse race with the winning school receiving a $250 donation from the Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce and each child at the winning school receiving a free ice cream.  Another treat at this year’s rodeo is that Tim Lepard and Team Ghost Riders will return.  In all the years of hosting their home rodeo the Lowry’s have never had the same specialty act two years in a row but after many request Tim and his team of monkeys riding border collies will once again thrill the rodeo fans. For more information, please see the Lowry Family's website at
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James H. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park

The State of Georgia’s commitment to the natural beauty of all parts of the state is evident in the vast array of state parks and public green-space. Georgia’s state park system is home to over 77,500 acres of scenic valleys, lakes, mountains, waterfalls, and other natural wonders.
Chattooga County is home to James H. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park. The park is nestled in the Chattahoochee National Forest. “Sloppy” Floyd is named in memory of James Floyd, a former state representative from Chattooga County. Floyd represented the area from 1953-1974.  Floyd’s influence in Georgia politics is also evident in the form of the James H. Floyd Office Complex in Atlanta. The complex, adjacent to the Georgia State Capitol, is home to over 400,000 square feet of office space.
“Sloppy” Floyd Park is a paradise for any family that loves the great outdoors. The park, right outside of Summerville, is home to fully-stocked fishing lakes that provide every level of angler a fun afternoon of fishing. The park is also home to four picnic pavilions that provide families and organizations a place to host a birthday party, club meeting, or reunion. Partner the fantastic fishing and picnic opportunities with beautiful hiking trails and paddleboats, and you can see that “Sloppy” Floyd Park is a perfect place to enjoy the natural beauty of Chattooga County.
If you’re looking for a stay in nature’s beauty, Sloppy Floyd also has twenty-five camping/RV sites. These sites provide your family with access to electricity and bathhouses equipped with showers, toilets, and washing machines and driers. The camping site also has a playground for families to enjoy.
If tent or RV camping doesn’t suit your specific camping style, “Sloppy” Floyd has four cottages/cabins for you to enjoy. These cabins are perfect for extended stay or a weekend get-away. If cabin camping isn’t enough “roughing-it” for you, “pioneer” campsites are also available. These campsites allow for families to enjoy the great outdoors without the comforts of modern-day technology.
“Sloppy” Floyd is open year-round and ready to host you and your family. The park is also committed to providing first-class service to companies, organizations, and other groups looking for a perfect place for their next event....
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Howard Finster’s “Paradise Garden”

One of Chattooga County's most  influential and famous citizens was the Reverend Howard Finster. Finster, sometimes called the "Grandfather of Southern Folk Art", used various types of folk artwork to spread his evangelical and humanitarian message to the world. In his lifetime, Mr. Finster created over 46,000 original pieces of artwork. His legacy and work are forever intertwined with Chattooga County and the national art community through his Paradise Garden. Paradise Garden is the art environment of famed country preacher turned folk/visionary artist Howard Finster. The Garden was begun in 1961 and continued as the focus of Howard Finster's labor for over 30 years. Howard's painting career, which began in 1976 and resulted in over 46,000 paintings, was born out of his visionary labors in Paradise Garden. Today Howard Finster's art is in the permanent displays of major museums and is prized by art collectors everywhere.   Paradise Garden, “one of the World's greatest Beauty Spots” as Howard declared it, was the site of hundreds of documentaries and numerous music videos from bands such as REM and The News Boys. REM's famous "Radio Free Europe" single was filmed in the Garden. Howard also collaborated with the group Talking Heads for their album "Little Creatures."  Howard's cover art for the album won Album Cover of the Year from Rolling Stone.  Johnny Carson had Rev. Finster appear on the “Tonight Show” to showcase the Garden, and Howard became the darling of universities and art galleries around the country. Howard Finster was recycling from the 1940's and turned a former swamp in his back yard into one of the world's most celebrated art environments .His artwork in Paradise Garden is colorful, inspiring and an amazing combination of materials and themes celebrating his love of people, mechanical objects, his Christian faith and God's creation. Paradise Garden is managed by the Paradise Garden Foundation,  a Georgia Non-Profit. The Garden is open Tuesday through Saturday 11:00-5:00  and Sunday from 1:00-5:00 for tours. Please contact the Garden for information about tours, donations, art prices, and Howard Finster's legacy as an artist and famous Georgian.  
Contact Information
Howard Finster's Paradise Garden
Jordan Poole 200 N Lewis Street Summerville, GA  30747
Phone: 706-808-0800 or 706-808-0801 Fax:
Office Hours:...
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