What: Sautee Nacoochee Community Association’s 21st Annual Cultural Arts Festival
When: Through July 25
Where: Sautee Nacoochee Center, Ga. 255 N, Sautee
How much: $12 for Saturday’s Lawn Party, $6 kids (nonmembers), 6 and younger free
More info: 706-878-3300
The Sautee Nacoochee community sure does get into celebrating summer.
This is the 21st year the hamlets’ residents have featured a full slate of music, arts, history, theater and kids activities. The celebration started June 12 and continues through July 25.
This weekend, the annual Lawn Party starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and also serves as a member appreciation event — admission is free for Sautee Nacoochee Association members.
“That really, for us, is the whole purpose of Lawn Party — it’s all about a ‘thank you’ for the members for coming to our events throughout the year,” said SNCA executive director Kathy Blandin. “We always try to get folks who, in terms of artists, what we know people will love and will make it a special night.”
The evening lineup starts with a performance by students from the Sautee School of Dance, and the cast of “Headwaters: Birth, Death and Places In-Between” will give a preview of this year’s play.
Then, it’s on to the music.
Singer/songwriter Lisa Deaton kicks it off, followed by The Mosier Brothers, featuring fiddle champion David Blackmon.
While the event is held in honor of the community association’s members, it’s still a fundraising event — a low country boil will be served for $8 adults ($5 for refills) and a kid’s meal of hot dog, chips and ice cream is $4.
There also will be face painting for kids and a 50/50 raffle.
The events this weekend and throughout the summer are also aimed at the many tourists who flock to the mountains each summer, Blandin said. Although, since the summertime events have been going on for more than 20 years, she said it’s hard to say which came first — the events for the community or the tourists to the events.
“I would say it’s really hard to distinguish the two,” she said, noting that visitors to the area start to increase in the spring.
SummerFest continues next week with activities for kids through the SNCA’s day camps, and a full performance by Deaton on June 26. She will be joined on stage by Barbara Luhn, Dede Vogt and Lyle Lammers. And in July, the latest version of “Headwaters,” a nationally recognized production telling stories from the area, begins its run; performances are July 9-25 and include a cast of 30.
“Pretty much every weekend, June through July, we do programming,” Blandin said. “And that’s what we call SummerFest.”