Gallery: Bear on the Square [5 Images] Click any image to expand.
22nd annual Appalachian heritage festival in Dahlonega will be staged,
rain or shine, in and around the town's Historic Public Square the third
weekend of April. Here is a rundown of highlights for the 2018 Bear on
the Square Mountain Festival:
Friday, April 20
Jamming on the Square
* Jammers, who gather around the town square, start arriving around
midday for what is one of the festival's favorite participant
activities, and the jamming will go on, day and night, throughout the
Bear weekend. A large percentage of these jammers have been coming to
the festival for many years.
Live and Silent Country Auction
* The largest annual fundraiser for Bear, the Live and Silent Country Auction, opens its doors at 5 p.m. on Friday night, April 20,
when auction items can be previewed and food and beverages serving will
begin. Catering the food will be two Dahlonega restaurants, Shenanigans
Restaurant & Irish Pub and the Bourbon Street Grille. Admission to
the MainStage Tent, the scene of the auctions, is $5 and covers the cost
of a bidding paddle, dinner and wine. Live music will be provided by
legendary North Georgia musician Curtis Jones & the Primal Roots
band beginning at 5:30 p.m., and the live auction will get underway at 7 p.m.
Special guests this year will be several locals, including Lumpkin
County's current sheriff, who will give personal accounts of the day in
1996 when a mamma bear and her cubs wandered onto the Dahlonega square.
Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22
Music in the MainStage Tent
* Performances by 11 well-known bands and individual musicians are scheduled in the MainStage Tent throughout the day on Saturday
and Sunday. This year's lineup of MainStage performers includes Front
Country, Zoe and Cloyd, Jonathan Byrd, Harpeth Rising, Jeff Mosier,
Crooked Mile, Wil Maring and Robert Bowlin, Chuck Nation, Ugly Cousin,
Good in the Kitchen, and Georgia Pick & Bow students. The opening
event on Sunday morning will be the Gospel Jam, which is led by Glenda
Pender and is probably the single most popular event each year during
the festival. There is no cost for admission to any performance.
Moonlight Jam in MainStage Tent
* The second annual Moonlight Jam will take place on Saturday
evening. This free admission event will be hosted by Rev. Jeff Mosier, a
banjo artist who is considered one of the South's most beloved
musicians. The jam will start at 7:30 p.m. and last until around 9:30 p.m.
The jam, sponsored by Jekyll Brewing Company, will consist of
performances by Mosier's band and other guest performers, and it will
give festival goers, including jammers in town for Bear, a chance to
bring their instruments and voices and to pick and sing with the pros.
Or, if they prefer, jam attendees can just listen to the music.
* Held around the Historic Public Square on Saturday
and Sunday, the Marketplace presents the juried work from an impressive
group of quality regional artists, including folk artist Billy Roper,
the festival's Heritage Sponsor. This year the market will have 107
booths with 92 of these locations containing the work of these artists
and craftsmen, among them 27 exhibitors new to Bear. The
Marketplace will also have a First Aid tent and booths for exhibiting
sponsors, festival information, the Weekend Gold Miners, and the Georgia
Pick & Bow Traditional Music School. Tents for several
organizations and various kids' activities will be located in Hancock
* The Southern Appalachian oral art of storytelling has been added to
the Bear lineup in recent years, and the Southern Order of Storytellers
has compiled a lineup of storytellers for Saturday.
While most of the storytellers will appear on the Zak McConnell Stage
in Hancock Park, there will be a kick-off session, an Appalachian
Storytelling Sampler with Debbie From, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday
morning in the MainStage Tent. A storytelling workshop, Storytelling
3.0: Sights, Sounds, and Samples for The Art of Listening with Chetter
Galloway will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Uncle Woodrow's Workshop Tent on East Main Street. Saturday
night, an event entitled Bare Tales, which is recommended for those 17
and older because of adult themes, will feature Natalie Jones, Melanie
Knauff and Shannon McNeall and will take place from 9:45 until 10:30 p.m. in the MainStage Tent.
Free Workshops, Jams and Demos
* Free workshops for festival goers who want to learn more about various aspects of music will take place on both Saturday
and Sunday in Uncle Woodrow's Workshop Tent, Canvas & Cork annex,
and Hancock Park. Subjects of workshops range from Old-Time Harmony
Singing, to Clogging, to The Origins and Evolution of Appalachian Music
and Dance, to Poetry, and more.
* On Saturday only, dance teams from the John C. Campbell Folk School will perform at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the plaza in front of the Dahlonega Visitors Center. Performing
this year will be the Dame's Rocket NW Clog Morris team, Sticks in the
Mud Border Morris team, Rural Felicity Garland team, Magic Rapper sword
team, and the band.
* An Open Mic event with professional musician Erick Jones as emcee will take place on Saturday afternoon from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the Zak McConnell Stage in Hancock Park..
Old-Time Mountain Dance
* Whistlin' Rufus will play and Doug Singleton will do the calling for an Old-Time Mountain Dance at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Visitors Center Plaza.
Jamming on the Square
* Jamming on the Square will continue throughout the weekend.
Admission is free to all Saturday
and Sunday events. Complete information about the Bear festival,
including schedules of activities, names of performers and artists, a
listing of sponsors, and other information can be found at www.bearonthesquare.org.
on the Square Mountain Festival, Inc., which stages the festival each
year, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit cultural arts organization dedicated
to preserving the culture of the Southern Appalachian region, including
music, art and crafts, and folklife. Tax deductible donations to help
the organization pay for producing the show each year are welcome and
can be sent to P.O. Box 1015, Dahlonega, GA 30533.