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DGW Weekend

July 22, 2009

Quote of the day: I’m on a mission homey. / Come ride with me homey”–excerpt from the rap Darius performed with Nappy Roots at this year’s DGW Weekend.

On this day, four years ago, Mayor Heidi Davison declared July 22nd Darius Goes West Day in Athens. It was the first day of the trip that would become an award-winning movie that would change many lives. DGW Day gives us a chance to reflect on all the hard work people have done for Darius’s cause of ending DMD.

It also gives us a chance to look back at DGW Weekend, which was held last weekend in Athens. Hopefully, you made it out to some or all of the festivities. If not, Kevin’s pictures will show some of what went down.

Friday night, we had an evening of family fun with carnival events at the Presbyterian Student Center. Thanks, Campus Minister Andy Cooke for letting us use your great space!

In town to help for the weekend were tons of supporters we met on the road. From left, Terin Izil came from Chicago, Tim Campbell from Akron, and Kristin Dailey from Cleveland.

Here, New York’s Julie Nusbaum pelts a crew-member in the pie-throwing booth.

Melissa Dardaris from Syracuse was also in town helping with the carnival, bedazzling Goslabi shirts by the dozen.

In fact, we had guests from nine states come to Athens for DGW Day, including Sophie Craighead from Jackson Hole, WY, Esta Hornstein from Sun Valley, ID, and Justin Bell (who helped organize a screening at Mississippi State AND who rallied SAEs nationwide around our cause), among others.

Luckily, there was a dunk tank where the guys could rinse off all the whipped cream.

Even other crew members got in on humiliating each other, as Sam took aim…

at Collin.

But not all the fun was based on the crew’s pain. Attendees could take a spin in Jason’s 1969 Dodge Charger featured in Darius Goes West

get their faces painted…

do t-shirt art…

tour the RV we spent nine months on the road with (thanks, Matt and Kristin Dailey, for taking a HUGE one for the team and agreeing to clean the RV!)…

or take some whacks at Sam’s old car, among other activities.

It took dozens of volunteers to make this come together, and we owe major props to the folks who came in from out of town, as well as local DGW heroes like Kathy and Jackie Moran from Shirtworks, Lucy Rowland, Anita Will, Church Crow, Dory MacMillan, Amy Gellins, Tim Johnson, Tim Smalley, Amanda, Keith, and Lyle Higginbothams, Laura Butler, Kathy Fernandez, Mallory Lopp, and the Sewell and Gaby families.

Also vital were Robert Sewell and Margaret Gaby, co-chairs of the Friday night carnival, with assistants Anna Sewell and George Gaby…

and the fantastic coordination of DGW’s “boss,” the always under-appreciated Barbara Smalley, seen here in a bungee-sprint race.

The music was also fantastic.

Thank you Athens, The Robert Prior Band, The Locals, and The Associates….

and all our volunteers and supporters for contributing to a great night.

The next day, the party moved to Cine for a screening of new video ‘extras.” There, Logan made a HUGE announcement: Darius Goes West is now available for online viewing for FREE, and you can help us out by registering for our new “Play It Forward” program, then sending the link to everyone you know. Check it out!

Meanwhile, Darius and his sister, Maroneesha (above D), showed off their house to Sophie Craighead (not pictured, she’s holding the camera), daughter Sage (to the left of Darius), Sage’s friend Alex George (to the left of Sage), and Esta Hornstein. Everyone who toured D’s completely wheelchair accessible home was impressed.

Back at Cine, Sam and Ben introduced a video that showcased some of Kevin’s 30,000 or so pictures from the road this year.

It also highlighted some of the crew’s insanity.

Between the two screenings of the extras videos, folks got the chance to check out new merchandise, including event t-shirts and Darius bobbleheads. For your own bobblehead (just $25 plus shipping…and sure to become a collector’s item), email a request to dariusgoeswest@gmail.com. Get ‘em while they last!

During the time between the extras showings and the screening of the full movie, Lee Epting and Harry’s Pig Shop provided food for the crew and our out-of-town volunteers. De-licious.

Lee provided southern hospitality to guests all weekend, and by the end of it, his food was one of Sophie’s favorite parts of Athens (aside, of course, from Lee’s son Daniel).

From Cine, we moved to the Classic Center for the night’s concert.

With Pastor Troy, KILLER MIKE, and The Nappy Roots in the house, the place was hoppin’.

And, by The Nappy Roots’ request, D ascended the stage and tore the place down.

All told, it was a great night, and a fantastic weekend.

HUGE thanks to our sponsors. Without their help DGW Weekend would not have been possible:

ABC Printing, The AdSmith, Athens Banner-Herald, Athens Classic Center, Athens First Bank and Trust, Barberito’s, Barron’s Rental, Budweiser, Cine, Coca-Cola, Family Connection, Gray Man Creative Enterprises, Harry’s Pig Shop, Tom Henson, D.D.S., Jittery Joe’s, Mama’s Boy, Marti’s at Midday, Presbyterian Student Center, R. Neal Pylant, P.C., Raymond James Financial Services, R.E.M., Shirtworks, Stickman Design, Winder Insurance Center, and Zaxby’s.

Special shout outs to Lucy Rowland, Anita Will, and Kitty Wilson as well for making DGW Weekend happen.

Thank you sponsors, and everyone who came out and supported DGW Weekend! See you next year!

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2 Responses to “DGW Weekend”

  1. On July 23rd, 2009, kathy moran-howe said:

    you guys amaze me. Your blogs are better than the morning paper. It was so incredibly fun to meet the out of town friends as well as see the local friends. You have made a family outside of your own! Thanks for all that you do and letting us be a part of it! “Baby, you’re the greatest!”

  2. On July 23rd, 2009, Austin said:

    The Weekend looked great! No mention about me or my video!? Ah, I see how it is. :) Glad it went well! -Austin (AJCShow)

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