Things 2 Do

6 reasons to check out popular north Georgia festival

DAHLONEGA, Ga. — Dahlonega’s Bear on the Square Festival returns April 27-28 to the north Georgia town. Here are the top reasons to check it out.

It's Dahlonega: There's a reason that the town of Dahlonega consistently makes national 'best of' lists.  Dahlonega is a picture-postcard, authentic Appalachian Mountain town, known for being the "Heart of Georgia's Wine Country."  Many of the historic wood and brick structures surrounding the historic Public Square and the Downtown District are on the National Register, and are filled with restaurants serving amazing food and music, independently-owned shops, boutiques and art galleries. It's a town that has evolved into an upscale weekend getaway destination that includes unique dining and overnight accommodations, luxury spa services and outdoor adventures.  Dahlonega was the site of the first major U.S. gold rush in 1829 – 20 years before California's Gold Rush in 1849.  You can still pan for gold at two mines where visitors get to take home any treasure they find.  The area offers bucket-list hiking and waterfalls, horseback riding, and is full of B&Bs, inns and romantic mountain cabins that are perfect for a wine weekend getaway.  The wineries also have villas and other accommodations.

Toe Tappin' Music: The heart of the Bear on the Square festival are the jams. As early as the Friday before the festival, pickers begin gathering on the square for jam sessions. Acoustic jams are everywhere on the city square with old fiddle tunes, country and bluegrass. The stages feature headliner acts, as the festival brings together local, regional, and national musicians, performers, and artists for a weekend of concerts and workshops.

Grab a Partner and Swing Them Round:  Always wanted to participate in a group dance (not a flashmob)?  Kick up your heels to the old-time mountain sound of dance music provided by Whistlin' Rufus with expert caller Doug Singleton.

Tell Tall Tales:  The lost art of oral storytelling can be found at Bear on the Square. Storytelling was an important mode of both communication and entertainment in the Southern Appalachian region, and Bear on the Square wants to do its part in helping carry on this cherished tradition. Stories, filled with tall tales, moral lessons, riddles and history, served to entertain, educate, and build community for early Appalachian settlers. This year a new event is added –Bare Tales - storytelling with adult content.

Shop til you Drop:  Festival-goers will be able to purchase one-of-a-kind, handmade items directly from some of the mountain region's best artists at the Mountain Marketplace. Booths will feature traditional craft exhibits; artists demonstrating skills in blacksmithing, basketry and more; and a wide selection of work from painters, furniture makers, musical instrument makers, potters, and quilt makers.

Kids Will Not Whine: This family-friendly event has so much for kids to do that they won't think to ever utter 'I'm bored.'  Activities include: build a special project at the Home Depot booth; pan for gold, take in a blacksmithing demo, learn how to weave a cloth or make a broom, visit the Pick & Bow jam tent to see how well kids can play music or enjoy the balloon and face-painting booths