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Mountain festival sets up shop in Dahlonega
Larry Benefield, left, and Dan Daniel of Grass Backards perform Sunday on the square in downtown Dahlonega during the Annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival.

Bear on the Square Mountain Festival

When: Friday night through Sunday

Where: Downtown Dahlonega

Cost: Free, with exception of fee for Master Classes

Contact:, 706-348-1370

Musical jams, storytellers and arts and crafts celebrating the Southern Appalachian culture are the focus of the 18th annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega.

Kicking off the festival will be “jamming” sessions and an auction Friday night. Musical acts will continue the entertainment on the square through Sunday.

“It’s one of the major festivals of the year here, which brings close to 50,000 people every year,” said Jimmy Booth, who is in charge of publicity. “This year we’ve added some more storytelling and workshops.”

The event attracts a variety of musicians, both nationally and regionally known. Acts include BlueBilly Grit, winners of the 2012 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition, and Curtis Jones, who is often referred to as “the fastest acoustic guitarist in the world.” In addition, many local musicians come out to play near the courthouse in downtown Dahlonega.

The Artist Marketplace, a juried art exhibition, will have 68 booths featuring handmade stringed instruments, fabric arts, folk arts, woodworking, glass and metal, jewelry, mixed media, drawing and painting, photography, pottery and jams, jelly, honey, candles and soaps. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

A number of workshops, demonstrations and children’s activities will be offered. The Southern Order of Storytellers will be telling folk tales, and Home Depot will supply activities for kids.

Admission and activities are free with the exception of a registration fee for Sunday Master Classes, which is comprised of Appalachian music lessons.

For more information, visit or call 706-348-1370.

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