AMERICUS — Where can you find a 100-year-old art deco theater, a fully restored Victorian hotel and a thriving arts scene? Americus and Sumter County.
Located in west-central Georgia, conveniently near I-75, just three hours south of Atlanta and two hours north of I-10, Americus and Sumter County are the perfect stops while en route to Florida, Atlanta or a vacation that stands all on its own. Walk the streets of the vibrant downtown, catch a musical at the Rylander Theatre and take in both fine and funky works of art. In Americus and Sumter County, visitors can be reminded of the rich past while exploring the colorful present.
In January 2021, the iconic Rylander Theatre will celebrate its 100th year. Before witnessing one of the many performances on stage, visitors will be impressed by the grand art deco décor, including ornate plasterwork, gorgeous stencil patterns and painted murals all around the theater. The Rylander closed its doors for more than 40 years, but then was given a $4.8 million renovation in the ’90s and began entertaining the crowds once again while keeping its original opulence intact. With a seating capacity of 621, the Rylander Theatre offers live performances, organ concerts on the 1928 Moller Theatre Pipe Organ (one of only three in the entire state), movies and numerous special events. The theater has its own troupe and also hosts concerts and plays throughout the year.
How many knew that Americus was the No. 1 place in the world for glass blowing? Glass blowing is a technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble through a blowpipe, while a second person manipulates the forming glass with a torch. Results are visually stunning and brightly colored works of glass art.
The Americus Center for the Arts gallery is run by the Americus-Sumter County Arts Council, which creates cultural opportunities for the community through the visual, literary and performing arts. The gallery features the works of local, and young, artists. Between watercolors, pottery, abstracts and more, there’s a delight around every corner.
Local artwork comes to life during First Friday events. Every first Friday of the month, explore Americus by foot or trolley and check out various visual arts pieces, musical performances, live art demonstrations, food samples and discounts to some locally owned favorite shops.
In Americus, visitors can skip Atlanta’s big chain hotels and rest inside a work of art. The historic castlelike Windsor Hotel was built in 1892 and is an architectural stunner. This Victorian-Moorish masterpiece has 53-rooms, stands five stories tall and is complete with tower and turret, balconies, as well as a three-story, open atrium lobby. No two rooms are alike, from the circular Bridal Suite with private staircase and demi-canopied king bed, to the well-appointed chamber rooms. The hotel closed its doors in 1972 after almost 80 years in operation. In 1991, the hotel re-opened after a $6.5 million renovation — and its restored grandeur shines. Before turning in, have an elegant dinner at Rosemary & Thyme or a drink and appetizer at Floyd’s.
Choose the road less traveled and indulge in the historic, yet very much alive, works of art that make up Americus and Sumter County, Georgia. Check the calendar for many unique and fun-filled events.
— April brings the Hot Glass Craft Beer festival, which combines the wonders of glass art and the tastes of local craft brews;
— The last Thursday of October is the time for the Downtown Trick or Treat-Kiwanis Pet Parade at 4 p.m. After the parade, children wearing their costumes may trick-or-treat at participating merchants.
— Christmas Open House is the kickoff for the holiday season in downtown Americus. Revelers can enjoy refreshments, visit with Jolly Ole St. Nick and take a carriage ride through Americus’ streets. Annually this event occurs from 6-8:30 p.m. the Thursday before Thanksgiving.
— The first Thursday in December brings the charming Downtown Christmas Parade welcoming Santa to Americus.
For more information on any of these events, contact the Americus Visitor Center at (229) 928-6059 or www.VisitAmericusGA.com.