Blog entry

2015 Bear on the Square Festival Recap!

First off, everyone always asks the story of how Dahlonega's Bear on the Square Festival first started.  This year was the festival's 19th year.  Since this is Cranberry Corners' 20th year in the gift shop business, Kranberry Kathy was there to witness the invasion of the bears and the origin of this fantastic bluegrass festival...

You see, they were building the Wal-Mart, and the clearing of the land left 2 bears homeless, and...

...either smelling the food cooking on the square or needing to purchase a few gifts - both cubs ran toward the square!  Once arriving, they climbed a tree to scope out where to start shopping.  This alarmed the people of the town, so professionals were called in to tranquilize the pair.  People stood at the base of the tree with huge tarps, and as each fell asleep, they were caught by the folks below.  Tagged, then released - both bears were last tracked in North Carolina.  So what do 2 bears on the square have to do with starting a bluegrass festival?  Nothing!  It's just that the people of Dahlonega love music and a good excuse to throw a party.  Hence, the birth of the annual Bear on the Square festival!

Each festival starts with the Friday night charity auction.  Check out Kranberry Kathy and daughter Shelley doing their best Vanna White impersonation while displaying a Billy Roper painting...

Proceeds from the auction (and festival) benefit the Dahlonega Pick 'n Bow program, and the $5 dinner catered by Shenanigans before the auction is always a delicious place to catch up with friends. 

Saturday's forecast called for sun and Sunday's called for rain...so the crowds were out in force for the first day of the festival.  That's why this guy, Farmer Jim from The Buzzard Mountain Boys, kept takin' a load off at Cranberry Corners...

Here's a buckdancer from the John C. Campbell Fok School struttin' her stuff on Saturday...

...and an impromptu jam on the square!

 

Kranberry Kathy...doing her best impression of a face jug.  Close, but no cigar!

Catching up with Cranberry Corners jewelry and accessory designer, Lee Johnson.  She had a booth on the square...

Day 2 of the festival called for rain, but that did not hamper the spirit or attendance at Sunday morning's gospel hour!  Glenda Pender emceed, and a house band accompanied professional and amateur performers who each did 1 song.  This year Kranberry's daughter, accompanied by Jason Kenney, surprised her mom with an impromptu attempt at Miss Loretta Lynn's 'God Makes No Mistakes'...

The rain really started to pour after the Gospel hour, and unfortunately most of the artist market and food court was forced to pack up and go home.  However, the square's pickers and grinners retreated indoors - and the big tent continued to jam right on throgh the festival finale...a set by local favorite Jason Kenney...

Despite the rain, the festival was deemed a success.  Cheers to the next year's Bear on the Square Festival, which will be April 16th and 17th, 2016.  The event's 20th ANNIVERSARY!  See you there!