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Make way for Mule Camp Market
Annual festival returns with traditional and new elements
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Gabriel Kinsey, 9, leaps high in the air on bungee jumping equipment set up in downtown Gainesville for Mule Camp Market last year.

Mule Camp Market

When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 10-11; noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 12

Where: Downtown Gainesville square

Cost: Free

More info: www.gainesvillejaycees.org

The street and food vendors as well as bluegrass musicians who characterize Gainesville’s annual festival weekend will be in attendance once again. And thanks to its organizers, the Gainesville Jaycees, a few new faces are in the mix.

“One of the biggest things we’re doing a little different this year is putting effort into the concert Saturday night,” said Charlie Hawkins, a Gainesville Jaycees board member and event organizer of this year’s Mule Camp Market Festival.

Bands set to perform Saturday include the Jonathan Ingram Band, a country/alternative rock band based in Atlanta; the Coal Mountain Band, a modern country/Southern rock outfit from North Georgia; the Tyler Hammond Band, fronted by a country rock artist from Milledgeville; and Outshine, a country/party music band from Birmingham, Ala.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into getting some real good quality bands for Saturday evening,” Hawkins said.

Concerts will be from 6:30-10:30 p.m. Food vendors will be open and some beverages will be served on the square, too.

“So everybody can listen, eat and have a good time,” Hawkins said.

The most traditional elements of the Mule Camp Market, which began as a curbside farmers market when Gainesville was still called Mule Camp Springs, will remain the same. Arts and crafts vendors, food and drink suppliers, children’s entertainment, folk musicians and the carnival will return for the festival.

“As far as that aspect, we’re really trying to keep it traditional and what not,” Hawkins said.

The blacksmith, a popular installation at many Mule Camp’s past, will be in attendance this year. A church service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on the stage.

The three-day event provides exposure and a new customer base for local businesses. Don Griffin, owner of Frames You-Nique on Main Street, always looks forward to welcoming new faces during the weekend, which is estimated to draw up to 75,000 visitors.

“I always look forward to a crowd of people,” Griffin said. “We’re looking forward to a bunch of people coming through and just trying to do things to make it fun.”

Frames You-Nique will have a sidewalk sale, clearance items, new merchandise and a booth among the festival’s many vendors.

On Friday, Jason Smith, a local folk artist otherwise known as the crafty cowboy, will make art in Frames You-Nique’s booth.

Proceeds from Mule Camp mainly help the Gainesville Jaycees support The Empty Stocking Fund, an Atlanta-based charity which provides Christmas presents for children living in poverty. The funds from last year’s Mule Camp enabled the Jaycees to provide Christmas presents for 250 middle school-aged children. The Jaycees have upped their goal for 2014.

“Our goal is to be able to help 300 kids this year,” Hawkins said.

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