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Sip up sorghum at 44th annual festival in Blairsville

Biskit Eatin' contest part of festivities this weekend

POSTED: October 17, 2013 1:00 a.m.

There’s only one place you can either grab a biscuit, a chainsaw, or a dance partner to have a good time, all in the same place. The 44th annual Blairsville Sorghum Festival is back at Meeks Park, now hosted by the new Blairsville Sorghum Festival Club.

A local tradition, people from all across the country have visited the first weekend of this festival, which began with the parade Oct. 12. The second weekend will feature children’s activities, demonstrations, square dancing, food vendors, arts, crafts and music Oct. 19-20.

Including events such as Biskit Eatin’, Pole Climbin’ and Log Sawin’, Blairsville’s biggest event has a rich history in the North Georgia mountains, said Kim Bridges, president of the Blairsville Sorghum Festival Club.

“It started back in 1969,” she said. “It was just several people, a group that got together to sell sorghum on the square, and they would dress in old-timey clothes.”

This weekend, the cast of Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” will join the festival. “Hazzard Life,” a famous group of enthusiasts providing the full experience of the popular TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” will also provide entertainment at the park this weekend.

The festival was at a fort for many years until it moved to Meeks Park seven years ago to accommodate the extra space for the growing event.

The Blairsville community looks forward to the second and third weekends in October every year to come to the park, Bridges said.

“It’s part of our heritage,” she said. “Everybody knows exactly when it’s going to be. The kids get excited.”

For its entire duration, about 20,000 people are expected to visit the festival this year. Bridges said the most popular event each year is the Biskit Eatin’ contest.

She also said people come from all over the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, to compete, stock up on authentic sorghum syrup and enjoy a fall tradition.

“A lot of people like to come because we do make the syrup there,” she said. We actually grow our own cane, harvest it ourselves, and then we grind it right there at the festival.”

Of course, the sorghum makers only use old-fashioned firewood cooking for their signature product.

Sorghum is a “mountain grown syrup,” from a locally grown cane. This has been a large part of the Blairsville culture for decades.

“It was just a big farming staple here in Blairsville, and a lot of people did it,” Bridges said. “It was just their way of raising money by doing that, and it just kind of exploded, I guess you could say, from that.”

After gaining attention from residents all across the state, the event was officially declared the Sorghum Festival of the State of Georgia.

Due to cancellations, vendors are still welcome to contact the Blairsvile Sorghum Festival Club at 706-745-4745 to be a part of this year’s festival.


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