Mule Camp Market Festival
What: Music, arts and crafts, mule rides, food, live entertainment
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Downtown Gainesville square
More info: www.gainesvillejaycees.org
At age 86, Hall County resident Milly Olsen says she has been to the Mule Camp Market enough over the years to know that this year’s edition featured the best festivities yet.
“There’s always something special about Mule Camp, but I’ve had some good ol’ fun this year,” Olsen said.
“My great-grandkids and grandkids and all my other family are here this year, and we’re having such a good time.”
Olsen said the community feel and variety of events Mule Camp offers each year is what continues to bring her out.
Mule Camp Market started off as a curbside farmer’s market and later evolved into the Corn Tassel Festival, where local craft vendors had a chance to display their creations in downtown Gainesville.
After the Gainesville Jaycees began to sponsor the event in 1993, the name was changed and the festival grew into Hall County’s largest annual event.
This year, Mule Camp Market organizers expected a crowd of up to 75,000 to be strolling the streets of the Gainesville square over the three-day festival, which continues today and Sunday.
The event draws in the participation of numerous vendors from across the country, country and bluegrass musicians who have a chance to play at the Mule Camp concert and all types of food.
And in keeping with the event’s name, mule rides were offered as a festive feature.
Shelby Lipdart said she comes to the festival every year for the sole purpose of meeting Gainesville residents and telling people about the area’s history, a subject she’s passionate about.
“My family has been living in this area for generations, and this is where I grew up. A lot of people don’t know so much of the rich history behind Gainesville and this whole area. Even Mule Camp is an important part of the city’s history,” Lipdart said.
Mule Camp Market is named after Gainesville’s former town name, Mule Camp Springs.
Lipdart made her goal clear and simple, “I want people to be proud of where they come from and to know that a lot of hard work has gone into making this place what it is.”