First, they posed for pictures with the Augusta Market as the backdrop, and after a word of welcome by Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, they split off into groups to explore the variety of vendors and wares.
It was the beginning of the Daycation, a vacation filled with visits to several Augusta attractions in one day.
“Most people don’t even know what we have right here in our own hometown,” organizer Johnny Hensley said.
He said that a couple of months ago a group of single adults was at breakfast brainstorming an outing that would appeal to a lot of people.
They considered the economy, and how many people can’t afford to go out of town. They decided to become tourists in Augusta.
“I went to the Saturday Market a few weeks ago and I was blown away,” Hensley said.
After a couple of hours of exploring the market Saturday, the group moved on to Meadow Gardens, the former home of Declaration of Independence signer George Walton.
That’s what Bonnie Jackson was looking forward to seeing.
“I’ve never been,” she said.
After that, the group toured the boyhood home of Woodrow Wilson.
“People don’t realize that his father was pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in the 1800s,” Hensley said.
Patty Etterle did. She attends First Presbyterian and had been through the home before. She lives in Evans and goes downtown only for church, so she had never been to the other destinations on the Daycation. It was a great opportunity to spend time with her friend, Warren Baptist Church member Saundra Walker.
Many in attendance had been to one or two of the destinations, but not all of them.
Saundra Walker has been to the market and to the Augusta Museum of History many times as a member of the CSRA Shag Club, “but I have not had time to look at the museum,” she said.
The group ended the tour with dinner at the Pizza Joint.
The singles are a very active group, Walker said. They have dinner after church on Sundays, get together once a month for potlucks, go to movies and First Friday together, and even take day trips to the beach together.
Members were asked to invite friends to explore Augusta with them as a way to reach other singles in the area.
It was also a way to demonstrate how to enjoy Augusta on a budget. The whole day cost each person only $7, for admission to the museum and the homes.
Other costs, such as purchases at the market and meals, were extra.
“Here’s something you can do for a full day without breaking the bank,” Hensley said.