A shooting after July’s First Friday wounded six and prompted speculation as to whether the monthly event should or would continue.
In response, local nonprofits, business owners and downtown residents planned events with music, food and activities to encourage people to come downtown and support First Friday on Aug. 3. They call it Get Down Downtown, and a public invitation on Facebook already has received hundreds of RSVPs.
Their battle cry? “Respect Downtown.”
NICHOLAS VíNCENT CASON: “Show your support for Downtown Augusta as Westobou Festival and Friends with Benefits Fund proudly present Funk You, Stewart & Winfield and BLOODKIN on First Friday, August 3rd at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater on the Riverwalk. #respectdowntown”
GEORGE FREDERICK CLAUSSEN IV: “It’s going to be a good one.”
RICK CLAUSSEN: “Bring some LIFE into Downtown !!!!!!”
COCO RUBIO: “it’ll be awesome to have the amphitheater used on first friday for this.... thanks.... with the augusta common also in use on first friday, maybe we can show everybody how great downtown augusta really is...... thanks again!”
JAMES AARON SNOW started using the hashtag #ComeDowntownAUG to encourage people to come downtown on Aug. 3 regardless of what happens to First Friday. He wrote on Facebook:
“Come Downtown AUG can be read as a rally to come to a geographical location or it can be a battle cry for Augusta to come downtown. However you read it, my hope is we will show our support by showing up the first Friday of August whether or not it’s a formal event. We must support our local businesses and we MUST show anyone watching that we cannot be scared off by foolish actions.”
Aurora’s dark night
On Twitter, Snow (@jamesaaronsnow) drew a parallel between responses to shootings in Augusta and Aurora, Colo.
“Not going to see ‘The Dark Knight Rising’ is the same line of thinking as canceling First Friday. Both make no sense. #TDKR #1stFri”
BIG DEE (@IAMBBALL_32): “Folks say “that make me don’t wanna go to the movies” have u notice shootings happen everywhere! Banks, Grocery stores, etc. Nothin safe!”
ALISON DINKINS (@ALISONDINKINS): Scary to think about how many people I know that saw Dark Knight Rises last night and how easily that could’ve been Augusta. #PrayforAurora
Aiken County native Rhett Walker recently hit the national scene with the release of the Rhett Walker Band’s debut album, Come to the River. He was in Aurora, Colo., with fellow singer-songwriter Moriah Peters during the theater shooting.
MORIAH PETERS (@MORIAHPETERS): @rhett_walker & I are 5 mins down the road from last night’s shooting. About to record on @KLOVERadio ...what could I say to this city?
Walker had planned to participate in a community service day of the K-LOVE radio station, but after the shooting, the band stayed to lead a prayer and worship service for victim’s families.
RHETT WALKER BAND (@RHETTWALKERBAND): “Wrote a song with @MoriahPeters about the #theatershooting, sang it on @KLOVERadio. Just found a studio in Denver, now going to record it!”
K-LOVE RADIO (@KLOVERADIO): In memory of the victims in Denver, @MoriahPeters & @rhettwalkerband recorded a special song. Download it for FREE http://bit.ly/LDsN8z .
Go online for more on
the new song Just Pray
from the Rhett Walker
Band and Moriah Peters at augustachronicle.com/blogs/crowdsourced.
A report from the LGBT advocacy group Equality Matters found that the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has donated millions to organizations such as the Family Research Council and Exodus International.
Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, said that he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit,” touching off a firestorm of comments asserting that the company is anti-gay.
DREW HUMBERD (@P0HAKU): “Did people just discover that Chick-Fil-A is homophobic? I thought it was common knowledge but apparently now it’s become a big deal.”
BOBBY SCOTT (@BOBBYGSCOTT): Sitting in a packed Chick-fil-A outside of Atlanta. I see their stand on marriage is hurting their business. #notanemptyseatinsight
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee created “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in response. On Facebook, he wrote, “I ask you to join me in speaking out on Wednesday, August 1 ‘Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day.’”
MIKE HUCKABEE (@GOVMIKEHUCKABEE): “93,000+ headed to Chick Fil-A on Aug. 1. Show your support for Chick Fil-A and join them: http://buff.ly/OjOAzE”
CHRIS HARRISON (@CDHARRISON): A Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day? I think I’ll pass @GovMikeHuckabee.
JENNIFER COX (@COXSWIFE227) of Evans, sent a tweet directly to the company: “@chickfila Despite my support of marriage for everyone, it takes guts to stick to your beliefs with millions disagreeing. i respect that!”
Much of Chick-fil-A’s Twitter feed is devoted to peach milkshakes and cow costumes, but at least one recent tweet addressed the controversy:
@CHICKFILA: “Our mission is to create raving fans; we plan to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the political arena. cot.ag/NZFBFI”
News of new businesses expanding in Augusta prompted cheers online.
AMELIA JANE CARTER (@AMILLIJANE): “THEY ARE BUILDING A STEAK N SHAKE IN AUGUSTA. I’ve waited for this moment my entire life. #dreamsdocometrue #fatgirlprobs”
DELIRIOUS58: “You all are going to love this restaurant. They have one in Brunswick, GA. Watch out McDonald’s, Burger King. Competition is on the way.”
ICH BIN... (@MSGERMANCHICK): “Augusta is moving up in the game...getting an ALDI, steak n shake, and a Buca di beppo!!! Yayy for this little city”