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Indulge in Celtic arts, flavors in Dahlonega
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Dahlonega Celtic Music Festival

When: Friday-Sunday; golf tournament and dinner Friday, festival with demonstrations Saturday-Sunday, live music Saturday and Sunday nights
Where: Downtown Dahlonega
How much: Festival entry is $7 adults, $5 children, $20 for family of four with each additional family member $5

The Irish and Scottish roots run deep in the North Georgia mountains.

And this weekend, Dahlonega embraces that heritage with the second annual Dahlonega Celtic Music Festival, taking place at various venues around downtown Dahlonega.

It’s a chance to sample some traditional Irish and Scottish food, listen to some music and learn about some of the traditional ways of life with demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Amy Booker, interim president of the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce, said one new feature this year is a golf tournament on Friday at Achasta Golf Club, played in the traditional Irish four-ball style, followed by a traditional Irish dinner and concert.

The tournament starts at 2 p.m. and is $85, which includes dinner. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and is $20, and tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert with Irish musician Alex Beaton are $10.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, visitors can experience Celtic crafts in the Celtic Village, located in Hancock Park just off the downtown square.

"Just down the sidewalk from the square downtown, we will have our Celtic marketplace and we will have some exciting vendors in the Celtic theme," Booker said. "Jewelers, potters, carvers, quite an interesting variety. And we’ve also added two food vendors, both a savory and a sweet, so it will be more offering of some of the traditional Celtic culinary delights."

Many of the demonstrators who came last year will be returning, she said, plus some new ones like Christina White, a Dahlonega artists who will be showing Celtic relief carving.

"I’ve studied Celtic relief carvings from over 1,000 years ago," said White, owner of the Funky Chicken Art Project, of the raised wooden carvings.

"It’s usually decorative, ornamental or architectural," she said. "It can be built into houses, decorate wagons, doors. But it was used as an everyday expression by everyone 1,000 years ago."

Unless the carving was buried in a bog or carefully preserved for generations, she said, the carvings were usually lost, since they were on wood. The carving styles survived on gravestones, but not many other places, she said.

There will also be traditional Celtic music played throughout the weekend, with pipers playing at 5:30 p.m. both days. And at 2 p.m. Sunday, a ceremony will dedicate Dahlonega’s own official tartan. The plaid includes a gold thread, noting the area’s gold history.

Evening concerts also are planned for Saturday and Sunday at North Georgia College & State University’s Agriculture Auditorium, just down the street from downtown. Highland Rays will play at 8 p.m. Saturday and Alex Beaton will play at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $30 for VIP seats.

The festival also coincides with a Celtic cooking segment, hosted as part of the Smithsonian exhibit going on now at North Georgia College & State University. The demonstration, which requires advance registration and a small fee, starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and explores haggis and other culinary secrets from Scotland and Ireland. For more information, call 706-864-1918.

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