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Appalachian conference takes closer look at a culture
Mountain Music  Medicine Show
The Mountain Music Medicine Show will be performed Saturday night at the Holly Theatre in Dahlonega.
33rd annual Appalachian Studies Association Conference
When: Friday through Sunday
Where: North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega
How much: $130, registration at the door


Schedule of special events
The Mountain Music Medicine Show: 7:30 to 10:15 p.m. Saturday, Historic Holly Theatre, 69 W. Main St.
Square Dance: 10 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, 44 N. Park St.
Music Jams: Noon to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Conference Exhibit Hall in Memorial Hall Gym
Bear on the Square Gospel Jam: 10:45 a.m. Sunday, North Georgia Dining Hall

It’s been eight years since the Appalachian Studies Association Conference made its way to Georgia, but this year it’s back with enlightening lectures on Appalachian life.

Alice Sampson, the Appalachian Studies Association president and director of the Georgia Appalachian Studies Center at North Georgia College & State University, said this year’s “Engaging Communities”-themed conference will feature Byron Herbert Reece Day, academics presentations of scholarly papers and an exciting weekend of traditional Appalachian music, among other events.

“I do want to point out that it’s an academic conference, that people have to register for the conference,” Sampson said. “It travels all over the country; we are the Southern tier this year and so they came to the Appalachian Studies Center and asked us if we could help do it.”

Friday, the first day of the conference, is also Byron Herbert Reece Day in Georgia. To celebrate, Sampson said there will be a reception in his honor and a few sessions at the conference devoted to Reece and his work.

Sampson added that there will be “a silent auction that will be going on the entire time, gold panning demonstration, there’s an outdoor sculpture exhibit (and) the history walk from the square.”

Also planned during the three-day conference are musical performances like old-fashioned gospel singing, Mountain Music Jams, the Mountain Music & Medicine Show at the Holly Theatre, a square dance with music from the Skillet Lickers and performances by the Georgia Mudcats and the Hoyles.

“We have bought a block of tickets for the Mountain Music Medicine Show so that conferencegoers can get in for a special rate,” Sampson said. “There’s also a play from Harlan County, Ky., and they are bringing 40 to 50 people down to do this play on methamphetamine use in Kentucky.”

The featured speaker will be Jane Stephenson, founder and advisor for the New Opportunity School for Women in Kentucky.

“She started the school for women about 20 years ago,” said Sampson, about the featured conference session on Saturday morning.

“Its called a school but it’s really more like a three-week crash course on how to get a job. They do makeovers with them, wardrobe, dental check up, health care, interviews and take them to galleries, gives them internships and she has about a 90 percent success rate of these women going on and getting jobs and going to college.”

Regional events