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Bear on the Square festival offers new events
0418 Bear
Bands will belt out their folksy tunes during the 17th annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in downtown Dahlonega this weekend.

Bear on the Square

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 21

Where: downtown Dahlonega

How much: Free to attend

More info: 

Since its beginning in 1996, Dahlonega’s Bear on the Square Mountain Festival has been faithful in offering events and activities consistent with its mission of celebrating the Southern Appalachian region’s music, art and folkways.

While crowds were smaller and activities were fewer in the early years, the number of participants and attendees has increased throughout the years. Numerous additions have been made to the festival’s lineup, and the 17th Bear festival on Saturday and Sunday in and around the Historic Public Square is no exception.

A brand-new event will be an open mic event from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday on the pavilion stage at Hancock Park.

Other expanded events and activities both days include free workshops, jams and demos; a free children’s program; and storytelling.

Workshops, jams and demos should last about 45 minutes each. They will be at three different locations: the workshop tent in Conner Memorial Park, the pavilion stage at Hancock Park and Searcey Underground, which is downstairs in Hall Block, 106 Public Square North. Workshops and activities range from organized jams to workshops on subjects covering buck dancing and hambone and from singing to stringed instrument lessons.

The children’s program will run from noon to 3 p.m. on both days. Moira Nelligan of the Nelligan School of Traditional Music in Decatur will present the program in the workshop tent in Conner Memorial Park. The Home Depot of Dahlonega and its store associates will present a toy-making booth on North Chestatee Street as another children’s activity.

Storytelling, which served to entertain, educate and build community for early Appalachian settlers, will happen both days at the Crimson Moon Café. Participating storytellers will include Connie Chancey, Sandy Dillard, Steven Rhymer, Pat Shields, Esther Culver, Breyanne Culver, Betsy Doty, Hannah From and Debbie Weston From.

For the creative-minded adults, the artist marketplace will be the place to congregate. The juried event will be comprised of a collection of one-of-a-kind, handmade arts and crafts from the Southern Appalachian region’s top artists.

Booths will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, rain or shine.