Why is public art so important? It plays an invaluable role in the process of community building and allows us to tell OUR story! We are thankful for our roots and all that Tift County has to offer! We could have never done this without Mark Shiver & Lamar Boyer at Fifth Street Interiors for allowing us to utilize their wall. This 120 foot mural welcomes you into Historic Downtown Tifton on Hwy 82! Check out what is in each letter! We are proud that this piece of art shows who we are and our roots!

There are 3 different elements within the T of this large mural on the side of Fifth Street Interiors! The 3 flowers that are represented within our town are the Camellia, Magnolia, and Azalea. Did you know that the Bessie Tift Camellia flower is named after the First Lady of Tifton? She was the wife of the founder of Tifton, Captain Henry Tift. It was the love of flowers that influenced the way Tifton looks today. You can find this flower at the Fulwood Garden Center! Town Terrace Motel or the Pink Motel has become an iconic part of Tifton. It has appeared as a location in three movies. Architects say the motel’s style is unique and represents a bygone era. Choo Choo! In its railroad heyday, Tifton served as the crossroads for three busy regional railroads: the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic; the Atlantic Coast Line; and the Georgia Southern & Florida. Visit the Tifton Terminal Railway Museum on Friday and Saturday to get a bit more history. Head over to ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture and let the Vulcan Steam Train transport you back in time and to the historical village!

I Spy a BIG I. There are 2 highlights in the i! Within the tittle of the i peeping through is the ABAC Stallion. We say #geehawwhoaback round here. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College as a $429 million dollar impact within South Georgia and is growing everyday! Coming up on 114 years, ABAC has called Tifton home! Many alumni, from near and far, do too! We hope that every student that comes within our town feels the same way. Curving around you can see these sweet treats! Springtime in Georgia means warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, and…strawberry season! The official strawberry season can stretch from late April to July 4th in Georgia, with the best picking from May to Mid-June. We have two U-Pick Farms here in Tift County, Berry Good Farms & Rutland Farms, that offer some great pickings.

There are three highlights in the F and they are BIG ones. University of Georgia Tifton lies in the heart of South Georgia agriculture. It’s also the home of the Coastal Plain Experiment Station and the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. UGA-Tifton researchers and scientists are preparing the next generation of agricultural leaders to take the world’s stage. You may see a few Dawgs hanging around town, including one in front of the Mural! See you at The Syd! Tifton Council for the Arts was built by Captain Tift, the founder of Tifton. The 120-year-old architectural treasure that was originally the Methodist Church. The building was the first brick church built in the community. The true jewels of the building are the twenty-four stained and fired glass windows, which suffuse the building with light and color. Their mission now is to make the arts available, affordable, and accessible to all! Our river is made out of concrete! The Interstate Highway System, which began in Tifton, created a vital link that has united this country and provided the background of support necessary for sustained economic growth. Tifton has become a stop off of I-75 for many heading north and south!

Let’s take a gander at the other T. Starting with the Monarch Butterflies, how beautiful are they? Due to their long (up to 3,000 miles!) migration journey, these butterflies may also be an inspirational sign of strength and endurance. These beauties have become a symbol in the Hispanic culture that is prominent in our area! If Fulwood Park could talk, we could write a novel full of memories. From festivals, to family reunions, and birthday parties, it is a part of all of our history. Since 1934 we have enjoyed being under the beautiful pines and azaleas. This park was named to honor the Fulwood Family and given as a gift from the Tift Family to the City of Tifton. The Fulwood Family are among Tifton’s earliest settlers and have long been patrons of the arts and cultural life in the community.

O my goodness it is a big one! Let’s look at the O of Tifton! Our Farmers are an important part of our community! Tift County is one of the most diverse agricultural counties in the state. Vegetable crops, row crops, forages, ornamental horticulture, livestock, forestry, fruits, nuts, and more are grown in our county! For the long nights and early mornings, sleep lost and meals missed, greasy shirts and dusty boots, we see and appreciate the agriculture in our area and the people that make it happen! Thank you to the Farmers that fuel us! Today and every day! We sure are one in a melon. Tift County is constantly leading the state of Georgia in MELON production. We would say that is pretty sweet. Speaking of sweet, what is better than an ICE-cold Coca-Cola? Not much! Beginning in 1903, Coca-Cola bottling facility was located on the corner of Third Street and Commerce Way.

Curling up to the N and finishing our tale about Coca-Cola, did you know it is said that their script for their logo was invented here in Tifton! The second location for Coca-Cola began in 1936 on Love Ave. This is now the home of Pediatric Dental Center! Oh, if those walls could talk! Coca-Cola now is back home in Tifton in their 343,000-square-foot facility that you can see off of I-75. DANG that is a lot of history (and Coke.) The portrait of Doc Melton will always be a part of history. In 1950, Mr. Daughtry Benjamin Melton Sr., and Mrs. Ella Dora Alexander Melton owned, erected, and operated Melton’s Funeral Home. During the 1950’s Mr. and Mrs. Daughtry Benjamin Melton Sr. also owned and operated eight businesses simultaneously. Their businesses provided family and friends with jobs during a time in our history when times were very hard. In 1966, Mr. Daughtry Benjamin Melton Sr., was The First African American to run for County Commissioner and any public office in Tift County. He along with his wife, Mrs. “Dee”, graced their community with LOVE and AFFECTION, continuous SUPPORT, and GENUINE GRATITUDE, fought with unyielding faith for the cause of all mankind, proclaiming that all men be treated equally. Moving on to the Tift Theatre! Built in 1937, the Tift Theatre is both a local landmark and part of the Tifton Commercial National Register Historic District. It has seen many famous faces as well as held local events. Celebrating their 85th birthday, this theatre will soon see a HUGE change as improvements for neon lights as well as an upgrade LED marquee. Scattered through the last letter you can see one of our favorite crops, the peanut. Did you know that 1 acre of peanuts is of 30,000 jars of peanut butter. And Tift County produces around 14,000 acres. You do the math. Last but not least, Hispanic Heritage is celebrated in Tift County with many festivals! Dancing brings friends and family together in an emotional connection to the music and traditions of their ancestors and is represented with the traditional Latin dress! We are so thankful that many Hispanic families call Tifton home.

Why is public art so important? It plays an invaluable role in the process of community building and allows us to tell OUR story! We are thankful for our roots and all that Tift County has to offer!