The Georgia Mountain Marketplace is traditionally a major aspect of the annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival coming up Friday through Sunday, April 18-20.
The upcoming 12th annual festival is following that tradition, featuring a remarkable collection of one-of-a-kind, handmade art and crafts. The 2008 festival, held in and around the Historic Public Square in Dahlonega, is once again presenting the juried work from an impressive group of top quality artists.
The Georgia Mountain Marketplace, held on Saturday and Sunday of the festival, has attracted several folk artists this year, including Billy Roper of Talking Rock, Ken (Blacktop) Gentle of Rome, Southern rural scenes painter Maurice Cook of Birmingham, AL., and Robert Perry of Murphy, NC, as well as folk art gourds from Tim and Karen Chambers/TKC from Highlands, NC. Also available will be framed screen paintings and urban drawings.
Other booths will contain a wide selection of work from furniture makers, musical instrument makers, potters, and quilt makers, plus a selection of gourds, jewelry, wood items, whirligigs, crocheted tablecloths, brooms, homemade jams, jellies and relishes, handmade soaps and lotions, natural honey products, photography, cutting boards, and baskets. There will also be a gold panning demonstration, booths from music organizations including the Southeastern Bluegrass Association (SEBA), the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association, and The Wiggins Group for Traditional Music, and exhibits from major sponsors of the festival.
A description of Bear on the Square major events; schedules of things to see and do including Mainstage music performances, Doc Johnson's Traveling Miracle Medicine Show, the popular Gospel Jam, a street dance, family activities, and music workshops; biographical information and photos of the music headliners, and listings of all participating artists and festival sponsors can be found at www.bearonthesquare.org.
This year's Bear on the Square festivities will kick off at 1 p.m. Friday, April 18, with an Appalachian Jam on the lawn of the Gold Museum and a flatpicking guitar workshop. The jamming by local and visiting musicians continues day and night throughout the weekend.
Friday night, the annual Live Country Auction featuring extensive Appalachian folk art and crafts from many of the Marketplace artists and specialty items from Dahlonega shops and restaurants will be held in a large tent at Bear Central in Hancock Park.
Performances by the Mainstage music headliners will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the tent in Hancock Park, and the park will also be the location of a heritage center demonstrating mountain traditions. The lineup includes nationally-known, regional and local performers including legendary old-time musicians Norman and Nancy Blake, who will appear on stage with famed fiddler James Bryan and his daughter Rachel, and the dynamic Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, Inc., which stages the show each year, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit cultural arts organization whose mission is to preserve and celebrate the culture of the Southern Appalachians through the presentation of music, traditional craft, and folkways. Tax deductible donations are welcome and can be sent to P.O. Box 338, Dahlonega, GA 30533. Co-sponsor of the festival is the Convention & Visitors Bureau of the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce.