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Get a taste of the sweet L.I.F.E. with Gwinnett parks

I love the L.I.F.E. - Leisure Is For Everyone - catalog Gwinnett Parks and Recreation Department puts out showcasing just what makes it the best in the country. I turn to the first page and almost always see something I absolutely have to do.

The latest issue features a murder mystery theater at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. The blurb reads, "Are you ready to roll the dice and join us in uncovering the mystery? You're invited to a VIP night at the Lady Luck Casino, where high rollers don't just gamble for big money ... but for their lives."

The audience participation play, titled "Lady's luck Has Run Out" will be staged by Page2Stage Productions, a Gwinnett County theatrical production company that specializes in original interactive murder mysteries and other theatre-related events. Based in Sugar Hill, Page2Stage Productions will partner with Stacey Sparks Events to bring audiences an evening of entertainment with a three-course meal. The dates are Sept. 10, 11, 17 and 18 and the cost is $30. For reservations call 770-822-5450.

I scanned through the rest of the September list and was also intrigued by a Family Fish Off at Little Mulberry Park on the third and a Grounds "N" Sounds coffee house event featuring High Cotton at the Lawrenceville Female Seminary on the 11th. The October agenda includes a Line Dance-a-thon at Shorty Howell Park, more murder mystery theater at Mountain Park and Pinckneyville Parks, Halloween events and something called Meteor Madness on the 21st at Little Mulberry Park for any troopers willing to arrive at 5 a.m. to watch the Orionids meteor shower while eating breakfast.

But life can be busy and these L.I.F.E. events may not fit into everyone's schedule. OK, so that's life! Many of us don't even have the time to read the catalog in the first place. But it was only because I experienced a particularly non-busy night that while sitting through a rerun of "Jeopardy" I actually read the whole thing cover to cover. And this is when I discovered how accommodating Gwinnett Parks and Recreation really is.

Dozens of hands-on activities including field trips, nature studies and even "traveling history trunks" that come to you are available for scouts, homeschoolers and other life-long learning groups. Just name the time and place.

And then there's the social life. Several county facilities including the Female Seminary, Medlock Pavilion, Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center and the Historic Courthouse are available for rental. Events include club meetings, class reunions, homeschooler proms, anniversary celebrations and birthday bashes. The Historic Courthouse, voted one of the best wedding places in the United States is available at an unbelievably low rate of $170 per hour. Alcohol is permitted and couples can bring in their own vendors.

"There are brides who will book a year in advance," recreation leader Dawn Pratt said. "This gives them the flexibility to make their own day historic."

What a L.I.F.E!

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.