Dahlonega Trail Fest
When: Sept. 9-11
Where: Downtown Dahlonega
More info: dahlonegatrailfest.org
Music, movies and all things connected to the Appalachian Trail will be the center of attention Sept. 9-11 in downtown Dahlonega for the annual Dahlonega Trail Festival.
According to the festival’s website dahlonegatrailfest.org, the event is a celebration of Dahlonega’s connection to the Appalachian Trail and its designation as the southern gateway to the Appalachian Trail.
The rain or shine free festival begins Friday, Sept. 9, with live music from the Threadbare Skivvies. Following its performance, the film “Tell It on the Mountain” will be shown. The movie is about those who hike the Pacific Crest trail, which stretches from the U.S.-Canada border to the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Saturday, the festival begins at 9 a.m. with events ranging from speakers and workshops. The Georgia Forestry Services also will teach a workshop on how to deal with bears while on the trail.
“We’ll have a two-day workshop on Saturday and Sunday on how to prepare for long-distance hikes,” Dahlonega Trail Fest chairman Tom Lamb said.
This marks a shift in the festival’s focus. Previously, the festival — which usually was held in the spring but has moved to the fall this year — was aimed toward Appalachian Trail hikers in the days before the hike. Now its focus is toward helping people be adequately prepared for hiking the AT.
Lamb said part of that includes multiple authors and speakers discussing “thru-hiking,” which is hiking a long-distance trail from end to end. Other speakers will talk about the book-turned -movie “A Walk in the Woods” and its effect on the AT’s popularity.
Lamb said he learned from personal experience the book has encouraged several people to hike the AT.
“My son hiked whole trail in 2004, and I was with him for the first month,” he said. “More than half the people (we met and asked) said they read ‘A Walk in the Woods,’ and it motivated them to travel the AT.”
On Saturday, Gopher Broke will provide music as participant explore vendors’ booths. Food will be available for purchase from Shenanigan’s Restaurant and Irish Pub.
While the festival’s main events will be on the square, some recreation activities will take place at other venues. REI will have a track set up allowing attendees to ride mountain bikes in Hancock Park. Paddleboarding is offered at Lake Zwerner.
These events are all free, including camping on the Chestatee River at the home of the Appalachian Outfitters Tubing, about a mile away from the square.
“For anybody interested in non-motorized recreation — even though our main focus is hiking — it’s a good chance for people to visit vendors, get information and be around other people who just love the outdoors,” Lamb said.
For more information, visit dahlonegatrailfest.org.