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Vidalia, Georgia
City
City of Vidalia
Vidalia Municipal Building (City Hall)
Vidalia Municipal Building (City Hall)
Motto: "The Sweet Onion City"
Location in Toombs County and the state of Georgia
Location in Toombs County and the state of Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
Counties Toombs, Montgomery
Area
 • City 17.4 sq mi (45.2 km2)
 • Land 17.3 sq mi (44.9 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 299 ft (91 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 10,473
 • Density 601.9/sq mi (231.7/km2)
 • Urban 26,067
 • Metro 36,346
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 30474-30475
Area code(s) 912
FIPS code 13-79388
GNIS feature ID 0324704
Website The City of Vidalia, Georgia

Vidalia (/vˈdljə/ vye-DAYL-yə or local /vˈdjə/ vye-DAY-yə) is a city located primarily in Toombs County, Georgia, United States. The city also extends very slightly into Montgomery County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,473.

Vidalia is the principal city of the Vidalia Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Montgomery and Toombs Counties, and had a combined population of 36,346 at the 2010 census.

Description and history

The town was incorporated on January 1, 1890. It is the largest city in Toombs County, but it is not the county seat. Although a Georgia website suggests the town may have been named "via dalia" ("road of dahlias"), it may have been named — like Vidalia, Louisiana — in honor of Don José Vidal, a Spanish aristocrat.

Like many towns in the region, Vidalia grew up around a rail yard that served farmers in the area who grew such crops as pecans and tobacco. The area's famous onions were not an important crop until much later.

In the 1950s, Piggly Wiggly grocery stores opened a distribution center in Vidalia, bringing with it a large influx of jobs as well as railroad business. At that time, Vidalia served as an interchange junction between the Central of Georgia and the Georgia and Florida (later both Southern railroads). For this, a large seven track yard was constructed, as well as a sizable engine servicing facility and interchange yard. The latter, smaller interchange yard is still in use to some degree by the Georgia Central railroad, while the larger yard was removed sometime in the 1970s. Dot Foods currently occupies most of the old Piggly Wiggly distribution center, with smaller companies leasing space.

Currently, the largest employers in Vidalia are Trane who has a large assembly plant and Wal-Mart which is rumored to be located on the former farm where the Vidalia sweet onions were first grown.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.4 square miles (45 km2), of which 17.3 square miles (45 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.63%) is water. Vidalia is located at 32°12′55″N 82°24′36″W / 32.21528°N 82.41°W / 32.21528; -82.41 (32.215305, -82.410086).

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 503
1910 1,776 253.1%
1920 2,860 61.0%
1930 3,585 25.3%
1940 4,109 14.6%
1950 5,819 41.6%
1960 7,569 30.1%
1970 9,507 25.6%
1980 10,393 9.3%
1990 11,078 6.6%
2000 10,491 −5.3%
2010 10,473 −0.2%
Est. 2015 10,679 2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
20100119 0579VidaliaGA
Vidalia (left) and Vidalia Regional Airport (right).

As of the census of 2000, there were 10,491 people, 4,167 households, and 2,758 families residing in the city; of these, 160 people lived in Montgomery and the rest in Toombs counties. The population density was 605.4 people per square mile (233.7/km²). There were 4,676 housing units at an average density of 269.8 per square mile (104.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.61% White, 36.88% African American, 0.89% Asian, 0.14% Native American, 1.82% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.24% of the population.

There were 4,167 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% were married couples living together, 18.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city, the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 81.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,365, and the median income for a family was $40,091. Males had a median income of $30,180 versus $18,496 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,369. About 15.4% of families and 19.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 18.8% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

Each spring Vidalia holds a world-famous Onion Festival. The event lasts for five days and draws in many tourists with its wide variety of activities.

Museums and other points of interest

The Altama Gallery is a museum of history and art located inside the restored Brazell House.

Vidalia in music

Although it has never been officially confirmed, it is believed by locals that the 1996 song Vidalia sung by Sammy Kershaw alludes to the Vidalia Sweet Onion crop with its lyrics "...sweet Vidalia, You always gotta make me cry!" While uncertainty remains about the song, Vidalia sweet onions have recently made a name for the town through national media and the Onions and Ogres advertisement campaign which features the cartoon ogre Shrek.


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