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Mule Camp Market descends onto downtown
Concerts, carnival and vendors to entertain crowds this weekend
Cindy Mundy and son Hayden, 4, left, and Cheri Thome and son John Michael, 6, ride a roller coaster in downtown Gainesville where Peachtree Rides set up shop during the 2012 Gainesville Jaycees’ Mule Camp Market Festival. The 2013 Mule Camp Market is scheduled for Friday through Sunday.

2013 Mule Camp Market

When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Downtown Gainesville

Cost: Free

Downtown Gainesville may seem shut down this weekend because of street closures. But it will be very much alive with the festivities of the 2013 Mule Camp Market.

The annual event sponsored by the Gainesville Jaycees will feature live music, an array of vendors and food and a carnival for children.

Lincoln Griffin, president of the Jaycees, decided after the overwhelming, positive response at last year’s market, extended hours and extra road closings were needed.

Hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Roads will be closed at every end of the downtown Gainesville area all weekend, allowing only pedestrian traffic. Main Street, Spring Street, Bradford Street and Washington Street will close at their entry areas on Maple Street, Brenau Avenue and Green Street. Admission and parking are free. Pets are allowed.

The Jaycees expects up to 70,000 people, which stems from a hope to grow the event each year.

“This year, I would expect that we’re going to have great, great traffic,” said Chris Wunn of the Jaycees.

A free concert featuring Joe Olds, Asphault Cowboys and Twisted Whiskey is sure to attract residents. The bands will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday at Spring Street in the center of the market.

Vendors are participating to create more convenience for the large crowds.

“We will have food vendors operating, and beer and wine will be available, courtesy of the Monkey Barrel,” Wunn said. “The people won’t have to walk back and forth ... to the Monkey Barrel to get alcohol and then come back. They’ll be on site there with alcohol.”

Of course, Mule Camp Market is not just for adults. The Jaycees are offering a carnival along E.E. Butler Parkway and Broad Street for family-friendly fun.

“We’ll have entertainment every hour, different exhibitions (and) a chicken-eating contest at noon presented by Buffalo Wild Wings,” Wunn said. “We just want everybody to come out, enjoy themselves, visit our vendors and enjoy some great fair food.”

A worship service will be at 10:45 a.m. Sunday. Wunn said this aids in accommodating more visitors who might not come Sunday otherwise.

“We also have a church service, an outdoor service, at 10:45 on Sunday morning, to kind of get things started and build an early crowd,” he said.

The market has come a long way over the years since receiving a sponsorship from the Jaycees. Starting out as a curbside farmer’s market, it eventually became known as the Corn Tassel Festival, featuring more craft exhibits from the community. In 1993, the name was changed to “Mule Camp,” reflecting Gainesville’s former name, Mule Camp Springs.

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