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Bear on the Square Mountain Festival to showcase Appalachian sounds
Annual event to run from April 21-23 in downtown Dahlonega
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The Pick & Bow All Stars perform on the mainstage in downtown Dahlonega during last year’s annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival.

Bear on the Square
When: April 21-23
Where: downtown Dahlonega
Cost: Free; $5 for April 21 auction
More info: www.bearonthesquare.org

Music and art saluting the culture of the Southern Appalachians will ebb and flow the fourth weekend in April during the Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in downtown Dahlonega.

The 21st annual event will begin with evening activities Friday, April 21, and end Sunday, April 23, in and around the square. Admission is free.

A new element in the festival is the Moonlight Jam in the mainstage tent Saturday, April 22. Hosted by banjo artist, the Rev. Jeff Mosier, the jam will include performances by Mosier’s band and other guest performers. As part of the performance, festival participants and other jammers can sing and play along with the pros instead of sitting back and listening.

The Moonlight Jam tent will open at 7 p.m., with the jam starting at 7:30 p.m. and last until 9:30 p.m.

The Moonlight Jam is not the only jam on tap. Festivities will begin with Jamming on the Square on Friday, April 21. Musicians of all skill levels can plop down and start playing their instruments of choice.

Coupled with the event will be a live and silent country auction. The annual fundraiser will open its doors at 5 p.m. when auction items can be previewed. Food and beverages will be served by two Dahlonega restaurants, Shenanigans Restaurant & Irish Pub and the Bourbon Street Grille.

Admission to auction is $5 and covers the cost of a bidding paddle, dinner and wine.

Legendary North Georgia musicians Curtis Jones and Matt Mundy will perform at 5:30 p.m. and the live auction will begin at 7 p.m.

The music will continue to flow Saturday and Sunday under the mainstage tent as 11 bands and individual musicians are scheduled to perform. The lineup includes April Verch Band, The Howlin’ Brothers, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, BlueBilly Grit, Donna Hughes, John Lilly, Threadbare Skivvies, The Georgia Crackers, Ugly Cousin, Crooked Mile and Georgia Pick & Bow All-Stars.

On Sunday morning, Glenda Pender will lead participants in the Gospel Jam, which is considered the single most popular event each year.

In addition to the music, the artist marketplace will have juried work from a group of regional artists, including folk artist Billy Roper. The market also will have 90 booths with some demonstrating their talents. For example, the John C. Campbell Folk School artists will demonstrate blacksmithing, broom making, basketry, spinning, woodcarving and weaving. In another section will be a Luthiers’ Row with skilled, regional instrument makers.

Other highlights of Bear on the Square will include:

* The Southern Order of Storytellers has compiled a lineup of storytellers for Saturday and Sunday. Most of the storytellers will appear on the Zak McConnell Stage in Hancock Park, but they will begin with a session by Melanie Knauff at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the mainstage tent. A storytelling workshop with Chetter Galloway and Esther Culver will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday in Uncle Woodrow’s Workshop Tent on East Main Street.

* Dance teams from the John C. Campbell Folk School will perform at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday on the plaza in front of the Dahlonega Visitors Center. The Brasstown Morris Dancers and Band and the Kudzu Kickers from Murphy, N.C. will perform a mixed set of traditional English Morris Dancing and Appalachian Clogging.

* An Open Mic event with professional musician Erick Jones as emcee will take place Saturday afternoon in Uncle Dave’s Workshop Tent.

* The Beary Good String Band will play and John Kelley will do the calling for an Old-Time Mountain Dance at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Visitors Center Plaza.

For more information, visit www.bearonthesquare.org.

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