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Out in the Crowd: Francoeur, Tumornators host second annual Rock4Research concert

Atlanta Braves right fielder and Gwinnett native Jeff Francoeur is teaming up with The Tumornators, a local fundraising group, to host the second annual Rock4Research benefit concert tonight at Wild Bill's in Duluth.

Gwinnett residents Chad and Ben Leathers founded The Tumornators in support of their brother, Drew, now 21, who was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis and Schwannomatosis at the age of 16. The group works to raise awareness of the rare condition and drum up funds to support The Children's Tumor Foundation. The Tumornators have raised more than $100,000 through fundraisers and donations since starting their campaign, and last year's Rock4Research benefit concert brought in more than $10,000 toward their efforts.

"This year's R4R is going to be unbelievable," Chad Leather said. "We had such a response from last year we've had to move from a 600-person venue to Wild Bill's, which holds 6,000."

Tonight's event may feel like a Parkview High School reunion for some who attend. Francoeur, Chad, Ben and Drew Leathers are all Parkview graduates, as well as Matt Moore and Matt Barnett, members of the Matt Moore Band, which will open the show. Parkview alum and Atlanta Braves catcher Clint Sammons is also expected to attend.

Country music singer Rhett Akins will headline the event, which kicks off at 8 p.m. with a VIP party hosted by Francoeur and former UGA All-American and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' right tackle Matt Stinchcomb, also a Parkview grad. NFL all-time leading scorer and former Atlanta Falcon Morten Andersen is also expected to attend. The concert is set to begin at 10 p.m.

VIP tickets are $20 and will include a meet-and-greet with the athletes. General admission tickets for the concert are $10 and can be purchased at the door Saturday night.

"The only way this is even possible is because of our amazing community," Chad Leather said. "When the chips are up, everyone wants to help, but when he chips are down, it seems everyone is asking what they can do, and the answer this year is bring a friend."

Other local events happening this weekend

Diana M. Hawkins will be reading and signing copies of her book, "Lumpy the Elephant," at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today at Books for Less, 2815 Buford Drive. For more information, call 404-964-1452.

The Stone Mountain Village Christmas Celebration will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Main Street Stone Mountain. For more information call 770-498-7334, visit www.mainstreetstonemontain.com or e-mail mainstreetstone@bellsouth.net.

Aurora Theatre's "Christmas Canteen" will open at 8 p.m. today and continue through Dec. 21. Shows will be at 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. The theater is at 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. For more information, visit auroratheatre.com.

Discover Mills will open its doors at midnight for its first-ever Midnight Shopping at The Mills event from midnight today to 10 a.m. Saturday. Discover Mills Mall is located at 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. For more information, call 678-847-5000.

New London Theatre will hold a holiday craft bazaar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Snellville Plaza at the corner of Ga. Highway 124 and U.S. Highway 78. The event is free to attend. For more information, call 770-559-1484.

A gun and knife show will be at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds this weekend. The show will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children younger than 6. For more information, call 770-963-6522.

SideBar: If You Go

What: Rock4Research benefit concert

When: Doors open at 7 p.m. today, a VIP party begins at 8 p.m. and the concert starts at 10 p.m.

Where: Wild Bill's, 2075 Market St., Duluth

Cost: $20 for the VIP party and concert and $10 for general admission to the concert only

For more information: Visit www.rock4research.com