It’s Raining, It’s Pouring; Don’t Let Your Rain Barrel Be Boring

With as much as rain as Athens has had in the past few days, there couldn’t be a more perfect opportunity for Athenians to get their hands on one-of-a-kind, handpainted rain barrels, all while drinking their favorite beer from Akademia Brewing Company.

The brewpub is proud to host the eighth annual Roll Out the Barrels event on May 24, featuring a silent auction of barrels decorated by local artists, light bites and live music.

“Each year, we auction off around 20 beautiful barrels, and we have raised over $10,000 in total for the ACC Green School Program,” said Cecile Riker, program education specialist with the Athens-Clarke County Stormwater Management Program. “[Green Schools] is designed to assist schools with environmental education and improvement efforts that focus on conservation, preservation and beautification of our environment.”

ACC Green Schools recognizes schools for their efforts in those ventures and offers mini grants to teachers who want to implement conservation and sustainability projects.

This year, 42 artists submitted designs for consideration and 19 were selected.

“Some of them are full-time professional artists, some are students and some are just people who just love to paint — and each barrel has a personality of its own,” Riker said. “There will be clipboards located near each barrel for you to write down your contact information and a bid amount.”

ACC Stormwater will also provide complimentary appetizers, while they last, to Night Owls while they peruse the barrels and place their bids from 6 to 8. Live music will begin at 7 from the Hot Fire String Band.

“If you are a lucky winner, you will be able to pay for your barrel with cash, check or credit card and then take the barrel home that evening. They will fit in the backseat of most sedans,” Riker said.

For barrel winners who cannot stay until the auction closes, their prizes will be transported back to the ACC Stormwater office on West Dougherty Street for later pick-up.

Rain barrels help Athens area homeowners conserve water, since they can pull water directly from the barrel to water their lawns, and prevent stormwater runoff.

“If someone is catching water from their roof in a rain barrel, that means there is less water running off of their property and entering into the city’s stormwater drainage system. The less runoff, the better. This runoff picks up harmful pollutants such as oil, fertilizers, litter, pet waste or anything else that may be lying in the road or on your lawn,” Riker said. “Runoff carries these pollutants into our stormwater system and then gets dumped out into a water source without any treatment. The more water that we capture before it becomes runoff, the less polluted water will end up in our streams.”

Riker said the most efficient way to use rain barrels is to hook them up to a gutter and have water from the roof run off directly into the barrel. For renters, she advises checking with a landlord before doing so.

“In those cases, if you have a porch or outdoor area, you can put a rain barrel there without hooking it up to anything. It will still catch rainwater, just not as fast,” Riker said. “These painted barrels in particular make lovely porch or lawn art.”

The brewpub will be open for regular dinner service during this event. Please feel free to peruse the barrels and enjoy the complimentary appetizers after being seated for your meal!

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