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Mule Camp offers 'really cool stuff' despite soggy morning
Crowds gather on Gainesville square for annual festival, which ends today
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Tifanie Slamaker helps her son Noah, 2, find a brush to pet goats Saturday at the Pony Perfect Party booth at Mule Camp Market in downtown Gainesville. Despite the rain, festival-goers made their way out to Mule Camp to check out what vendors had to offer. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Mule Camp Market

When: noon-5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Gainesville downtown square

Cost: Free

More info: www.gainesvillejaycees.org

Each year, Mule Camp Market grows, attracting people outside the Gainesville area like Mary Beth Simmons of Habersham County.

“We actually heard this was a really, really cool festival and they had lots of really cool stuff,” Simmons said. “We’ve been really excited with everything that we have seen.”

Some of her group was especially impressed with the Buttermilk Pie Co. and the vendors with monogrammed sweatshirts.

“It’s big and I like how it’s all compact and in one spot,” Simmons said about the set up around the square.

The second day of the annual Mule Camp Market welcomed visitors with activities, vendor booths, music, rides and fun for the entire family.

Sponsored by the Gainesville Jaycees, vendor tents filled the closed streets of the downtown square, while the smell of festival delicacies filled the air. The variety of vendors offering specialty finds, unique arts and crafts, clothes and jewelry paired with inflatable bouncy houses, bumper cars and a petting zoo make Mule Camp a favorite for many who return year after year.

Brittany Smith of Gainesville took a break with her family as the two boys happily munched on a bag of freshly popped popcorn, watching the crowd walk by.

“We wanted to show the kids a good time, ride some rides, even though they said their favorite part was the popcorn,” Smith laughed.

“All the rides are open,” Smith said, listing a few of the activities as each boy held foam swords they were happy to take home. “They’re having a really good time.”

As someone who has been before, Smith said that not everything was geared for the children.

“Personally I look more forward to the tents and the vendors that show up, but for them I think it’s important to have the rides and the games all set up,” Smith said, adding that in addition to the several clothes shops she had seen, they had picked up some handmade dog treats for the family member stuck at home.

“Considering the rain it’s a pretty good turnout. Parking actually wasn’t that bad so I’m glad the weather held up for us, but I’m also kind of glad it looked like this so maybe not as many people came,” Smith said.

The weather led to many visitors donning rain coats and carrying umbrellas as the sun played hide-and-seek throughout the day. Vendors were ready as they prepped their tents when it began to rain.

“It was a lazy, rainy afternoon and I needed something to do with the family, so we decided to come down to see what was here,” David Pennington of Dahlonega said. He was at the mall when he saw the balloons that led him and his family downtown.

Standing on the corner, the shouts for fresh lemonade were heard over the crowd that had stopped to watch a blacksmith demonstration.

“It’s interesting, it’s nice to get the community out,” Pennington said. “We’ve lived here now since 2006, so it’s not the first time we’ve been to the downtown square. I enjoy coming out.”

Mule Camp will continue from noon-5 p.m. today at the square, and is free to attend.

Mule Camp Market

When: noon-5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Gainesville downtown square

Cost: Free

More infowww.gainesvillejaycees.org

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