While there will be plenty of “something old” at this year’s Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega, there will also be “something new” to benefit the attendees at this year’s event, the 16th annual, scheduled for April 21st and Sunday, April 22nd.

 Popular activity during the annual Bear on the Square festival is jamming on the lawn of the Historic Gold Museum.
Popular activity during the annual Bear on the Square festival is jamming on the lawn of the Historic Gold Museum.

The festival once again will be a celebration of Southern Appalachian culture, and the music in the Main Stage Tent in Hancock Park will primarily focus on old-time, bluegrass, gospel, and other music styles from this region. What’s new this year? There will be no charge for admission to any of the performances in the Main Stage Tent.

Bear on the Square’s Artist Marketplace again will be a juried showing of a remarkable collection of handmade art and crafts from some of the Southern Appalachian region’s best artists. This year, the number of Marketplace participants has been expanded to around 40 artists whose booths will be clustered around the Historic Public Square. There will also be a section of demonstrating artists from the renowned John C. Campbell Folk School, this year’s festival sponsor, and there will be country store items scattered throughout the square and Hancock Park.

Another new feature this year is a full schedule of children’s activities on both Saturday and Sunday. There will also be opportunities to purchase additional items of Bear on the Square merchandise, including a newly-released CD featuring performers from this year’s festival. And, persons who want to help provide the funding needed to produce the annual event will be able to do so by signing on as a “Friend of Bear.”

Bear on the Square festival Activities will get underway on Friday with pre-festival events, including  the start of jamming on the Square, Master Class Workshops, and the Live Country Auction. Saturday and Sunday’s schedule includes continuous Main Stage performances, children’s activities, free workshops, a Gospel Jam, appearances by Campbell Folk School dance teams, an old-time Mountain Dance, and more jamming on the Square. Complete details about the festival and information about the sponsors, as well as how to become a Friends of Bear member, can be found at BearOnTheSquare.org.

Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, Inc., which stages the festival each year, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit cultural arts organization with all proceeds  going back into presenting the yearly event and also supporting other efforts that maintain awareness of the region’s culture.

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Jimmy Booth

Jimmy Booth

Lifelong Georgia resident Jimmy Booth, who was a longtime Atlanta area journalist and public relations consultant, moved in fall of 2006 from Peachtree City, Ga., to Dahlonega, Ga. He and his wife Margo have become involved with several Dahlonega-based not-for-profit cultural arts and historical organizations working to keep alive the traditional mountain music, art and folkways which are a vital part of the area's heritage. Jimmy graduated from Emory University, where he served as editor of The Emory Wheel. During his journalistic career, he worked as publisher or editor of several Georgia weekly and small daily newspapers, and he was a section editor for The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Now officially retired, he handles publicity for some of the events and organizations in the Dahlonega area.