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Rain can't wash out Dawsonville's Spring Fling Festival
David Duke carries a flat of flowers he purchased Sunday at the Spring Fling Festival in Dawsonville. - photo by Tom Reed

DAWSONVILLE — Weather wasn’t particularly kind to Dawsonville’s Spring Fling festival this weekend, but it didn’t put a damper on enthusiasm.

"It poured (Saturday) and everybody said, ‘Oh well,’ and went home," lamented Mary Bob Fox, chairman of the Dawson County Arts Council, the festival’s sponsor. "Our entertainment had to be canceled ... and the sound equipment can’t be outside, so we’ll see how it goes (Sunday)."

Also, the rain nixed a "dog fashion show," "which is always a big draw," Fox said.

Dark cloud hung in the skies Sunday morning, but festival visitors started streaming in early at Dawson County Middle School, and Fox said she expected the crowd to pick up after church services had ended.

Dorothy Smallwood of Lumpkin County was browsing through some of the booths with her children, 8-year-old Savannah and 3-year-old Summer.

"We came last year and liked it and I bought some flowers," Smallwood said. "So I thought we would come back this year."

She said she hadn’t visited the children’s area yet, but "we’re headed that way."

The eighth annual festival, formerly known as Art in the Garden, originally was just a juried art show with artists displaying garden-related art.

With juried parts intact, the event has evolved into an arts and crafts festival, with food, musical performances and other activities. A highlight for the children was a passenger train that ran through the middle school parking lot.

"We wanted to expand to have a major spring festival in Dawsonville, so we have tried to pull together various aspects of the community," Fox said.

The free event, which serves as the arts group’s major fundraiser, also took place at the Dawsonville Municipal Complex and the Bowen Center for the Arts.

"One of the reasons we wanted to (expand) the festival is the economic times," Fox said. "We need to keep our doors open."

Smallwood, for one, said she enjoyed the event.

"There’s something in the spring rather than all (festivals taking place) in the fall," she said.

The event drew vendors from all around the area, including Dave Rusk of Flowery Branch, who was selling painted windows and other crafts.

Justin and Wendy Hasty of Horton, Ala., displayed their handcrafted wooden furniture as part of the family business, Bent Creek Willow.

"We had some friends in this area who have purchased quite a bit of our furniture and recommended we come do this show, that it was a real good festival and our children would enjoy it," Wendy said.

"We’ve enjoyed it," she added, glancing at the sky. "If the rain will hold off, we’re in good shape."

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