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Rock & Jock Festival draws thousands

Staff Photo: John Bohn. Kaci Snipes, age 4, jumps over the legs of her parents, Annette and Brent Snipes of Buford during the Rock & Jock Festival held Saturday at Suwanee Town Center Park. At right is Kendall Snipes, age 6.

Staff Photo: John Bohn. Kaci Snipes, age 4, jumps over the legs of her parents, Annette and Brent Snipes of Buford during the Rock & Jock Festival held Saturday at Suwanee Town Center Park. At right is Kendall Snipes, age 6.

SUWANEE -- Saturday's free concert at Town Center Park was a planned summer evening for some. For others, it was a pleasant surprise.

Zach and Nicole Dowling of Suwanee were stopping for a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant when the sound of good music tempted them.

They spread a blanket and took their food outdoors, joining at least 4,000 others attending the annual Rock & Jock Festival.

Zach Dowling said the event had "a good vibe."

"We didn't know anything about this," he said. "We're glad we stopped by."

Bob and Marie Kramer too were surprised by the concert. They were meeting friends at a nearby restaurant when they noticed how tough it was finding a parking spot.

Bob Kramer said the couple would consider visiting the concert after dinner.

Headlining Saturday's free festival was New Orleans rock trio Better Than Ezra. Other bands included Atlanta's own country group Gasoline Brothers, as well as Memphis' Ingram Hill.

"The music's good," said Beth Herke, who came with husband, Jeff, and their dog, Joey. "They always do a great job with these concerts here."

Albert and Arleen Phang of Suwanee agreed.

"We love the park area," said Albert Phang. "It's set up well for this. I think the way they plan events here is perfect for the park."

Event Organizer Amy Doherty with the city of Suwanee said it was a well-attended event.

"The August concert always tends to be one of our more popular ones," she said. "It's one of our bigger events we have during the year."

Music wasn't the only draw to the gathering Saturday. Athletes from all over the county set up tables to promote their teams, season tickets and school spirit.

Local area high schools and colleges were there as well as a spokesman with the Gwinnett Gladiators, who talked to fans about schedules for the 2011-12 season.