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Mountain music flows from downtown Dahlonega
Annual Bear on the Square festival is next weekend
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Debbielee and Joe Whelchel find a grassy spot in the Public Square in downtown Dahlonega to play on the final day of the annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival.

19th annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival

When: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. April 18 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 19

Where: Downtown Dahlonega

Cost: Free

More info: www.bearonthesquare.org or 706-348-1370

Live music, art and storytelling with an Appalachian mountain influence will step into the spotlight during the annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in downtown Dahlonega.

“This is a celebration of the culture of the Southern Appalachian area,” said Jimmy Booth, who works with publicity for the event. “People who like to see the art and the music and folkways of this particular part of the country, this is a good way to experience that.”

The award-winning festival will kick off its 19th year at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 18, with jamming on the square and an artist market.

About 13 musical groups from all across the country will play everything from gospel to country to folk music throughout the weekend. At the artist market, festival-goers can purchase handmade pieces from some of the region’s best artists. Admission to the festival and all concerts is free.

In addition to art and live music, the festival is the site of the 2015 Southeast Regional Spotlight Event for Storytelling.

“There’s a group called the Southern Order of Storytellers out of Atlanta that have gotten involved (with the event.),” Booth said. “They’ve been involved in the past, but it’s going to be a lot bigger focus this year.”

The event is expected to draw in nearly 50,000 people throughout the weekend.

Another event estimated to lure visitors to Dahlonega are the master classes at the Vickery House, home of the Appalachian Studies Center at the University of North Georgia.

Professional musicians and instructors will teach beginner and intermediate students basic skills on different instruments including the banjo, fiddle and both bluegrass and rhythm guitar.

The sessions are $20 per class in the Vickery House, which is on West Main Street two blocks south of the Gold Museum.

The night before the two-day event, live music and an auction will take place at the MainStage tent. Admission to the auction is $5 and includes a bidding paddle and a catered meal.

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