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Folk school, Bear on the Square team up to promote Appalachian traditions
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The Mountain Marketplace
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Downtown Dahlonega square
How much: Free

Music on the Square
1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Downtown Dahlonega square
How much: Free

Mainstage concerts
Various times
Where: Hancock Park tent
Cost: $15 Saturday, $10 Sunday for tent entry.

Children's activities and music workshops also are scheduled throughout the weekend. For more information, call 706-348-1370.

The sounds of banjos and mandolins will echo through the Dahlonega square this weekend as musicians take the stage in Hancock Park as part of Bear on the Square.

Bluegrass and old-time players who will perform include The Clair Lynch Band, The Solstice Sisters and The Packway Handle Band, along with more than a dozen other groups.

If you have a knack for fiddling or picking, you can join in the fun, too, at Music on the Square, where groups will gather to jam on Friday night. All musicians are invited to pull up a chair and join.

Keeping the region's traditions alive is the purpose of Bear on the Square, which celebrates Southern Appalachian music, traditional crafts and "folkways."

At the Mountain Marketplace, which will be located on the square, handmade items like soap, quilts and "memory paintings" will be among the offerings, and the Southeastern Bluegrass Association and the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association will have exhibits.

The marketplace is sponsored for the first time this year by John C. Campbell Folk School, a school of traditional crafts in Brasstown, N.C.

Keather Weideman, marketing manager for the school, said the school sponsored the festival because the two organizations, both nonprofits, share the goal of preserving Appalachian traditions.

"We decided that because Bear on the Square is really focused and true to their mission, which is preserving the traditional music and craft of this area and of the Appalachian and North Georgia mountains and the whole region, that we felt like their mission was really very similar to ours," Weideman said.

She said professional artisans whoteach classes at John C. Campbell will demonstrate at the festival.

Blacksmiths, a basket weaver, a wood carver, a potter and an artist that creates pieces with salvaged materials will demonstrate, Weideman said, and their work will be available for sale along with other work from the craft shop located on the school's campus.