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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

20th Annual Bear on the Square Festival Has Record Attendence

Apr 22, 2016 02:04PM ● By Melanie Heisinger
Over the weekend of April 16th, the 20th Annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival took place and the Historic Public Square in Dahlonega was filled by festival goers. This event is an annual celebration of the Southern Appalachian culture, including music, art and crafts, and folklife. 

The Historic Public Square in Dahlonega was filled to the brim with festival goers that attended the 20th annual Bear on the Square event (right). The tents were part of the juried Artist Marketplace, where most of the exhibitors had record sales this year, and jammers were busy playing on the lawn of the Gold Museum (center of photo) and around the square for most of the weekend. Other activities, besides music, included dance exhibitions, arts and crafts, storytelling, free workshops and kids activities. The Marketplace artists lined the square with handcrafted treasures, some even demonstrated how they were made. Luthiers Row featured the most beautiful handmade musical instruments.

The Becky Buller Band (left) was among the MainStage Tent headliners for the 20th annual Festival. Becky Buller, which Fiddler Magazine described as "one of the most sought after performers in the bluegrass music industry today," grew up in a very musical southern Minnesota family and played with them in a group called Prairie Grass, a perfect fit for the festival headliner. 

BRASSTOWN MORRIS dancers from John C. Campbell Folk School entertained a large crowd attending 20th annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival (left). Festival organizers said that, based on comments from volunteers, artists/craftsmen, and other participants, the attendance at the event was probably the highest it has ever been. Since no tickets were sold, there's no way to get an exact crowd count, but it is believed the turnout exceeded the 40,000 to 50,000 estimates for crowds attending the Bear Festival in recent years. 

If you missed out this year but was hoping to attend, luckily next year is already planned out! The 21st Annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival will be held April 22-23, 2017 with the Live and Silent Country Auction on Friday, April 21. Mark your calendar! 

All photos taken by Lamar Bates. 

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