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61st annual Gold Rush Days set for Oct. 17 in Dahlonega
People pan for gold during a previous Gold Rush fall festival in Dahlonega. The annual event will be Oct. 17-18 at 13 S. Park St.

Gold Rush Days

When: Oct. 17-18

Where: Dahlonega Square, 13 S. Park St., Dahlonega

Price: Free

More info: Jaycees or

The Gold Rush in Georgia didn’t end in 1848.

Visitors to downtown Dahlonega will have the opportunity to pan for gold, taste food common to the South and hear music from bluegrass, country, gospel and contemporary musicians at the 61st annual Gold Rush Days.

The annual event will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 and 18 at 13 S. Park St. in Dahlonega and commemorates the first Gold Rush in Lumpkin County.

“While we have changed some of the activities, the event has stayed very much the same,” said Kandi Ledford, a representative of the Dahlonega Jaycees, which hosts the event every year.

The free two-day event will take place “rain or shine,” Ledford said.

“Some years it’s been beautiful, and other years it’s snowing,” she said.

Food trucks will sell Southern staples such as barbecue, turkey legs, roasted corn and funnel cakes, Ledford said. Other food vendors will dish out delicacies such as gyro wraps.

“Stores will stay open all around the square throughout the event,” Ledford said. “We’re so thankful for the support every year. And it’s great for the community.” 

Visitors will be entertained by musical acts such as the Carpet Capital Cloggers or T.W. Holman Music Group. And vendors will sell their wares, ranging from pottery and paintings to soap and sweets.

Kicking off activities Saturday, Oct. 17, will be a 5-kilometer memorial run, sponsored by the Dahlonega Rotary Club. The race will loop through the town square and begin and end in front of Memorial Hall on the University of North Georgia Dahlonega campus.

Racer registration is $25 in advance and $30 after 5 p.m. Oct. 15. Every runner who preregisters will receive a race day T-shirt.

For route information, visit Rush 5K.

Awards will be given to the overall male and female, overall master for male and female 40 and older, and first, second and third place for 12 age groups ranging from 14 and older.

“The 5K supports the Dahlonega Rotary Club and scholarships that they provide to high school students along with charities that they support in the local community,” Ledford said.

On Saturday, a parade will march through town at 3 p.m. Anyone may enter the parade with a $40 entry fee.

“Anyone can register online or register on location the day of in front of the Sheriff’s Office,” Ledford said.

That same night, a free after-hours concert will be from 5:30-8 p.m. on the main stage.

On Sunday, the Consolidated Gold Mine will host its 53rd annual World Open Gold Panning Championship at 11 am. Individuals may register at 9 a.m. on the Gold  Museum Lawn or online at

Parking for Gold Rush will be all around the square. Dahlonega city public parking is still available  for free.

“However, (parking) is limited,” Ledford said.

Clubs and organizations, such as the Rotary Club, will sell parking spaces for $5 to $10. The Rotary Club will sell passes at the University of North Georgia Dahlonega campus.

Free water stations along with restrooms and baby comfort areas are available. For children, face painting and games will be available in a section of the square.

All the money the Dahlonega Jaycees receive from the vendor booth fee and the parade entry fee “goes into the community and supports local organization,”  Ledford said.

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