The annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, scheduled in Dahlonega the third weekend in April, has the mission of preserving and celebrating the culture of the Southern Appalachians through the presentation of music, traditional craft and folkways.
While the music portion of the program can be enjoyed through the free performances at the MainStage Tent in Hancock Park and the jamming around the Historic Public Square, the crafts and folkways are well represented at the festival's Artist Marketplace.
The 16th annual festival's Artist Marketplace, which is a juried event, will once again be made up of a remarkable collection of one-of-a-kind, handmade art and crafts from some of the Southern Appalachian region's best artists. The marketplace will be open on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Sunday, April 22, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Once again, there will be a John C. Campbell Folk School section along North Park Street where the work of the folk school's demonstrating artists will be available for purchase. Information about the folk school's classes and programs will also be available.
Clustered around the Public Square will be booths featuring the work of close to 40 Marketplace artists, of whom 10 are new to Bear on the Square. The booths will contain a wide selection of work including pottery, woodcrafts, fiber crafts, painting, drawing, photography, multi-media, and musical instruments, and some of these artists will demonstrate their work.
Country Store items, instead of being grouped together as in past years, will be interspersed in various locations around the Square and in Hancock Park. Offered for sale will be bath and body products, honey, soap, jellies, homemade granola, bread, and plants.
There will also be booths from the SouthEastern Bluegrass Association (SEBA), the Spectrum Art Club from North Georgia College & State University, the Weekend Gold Miners Club, and several festival sponsors.
Pre-festival events for the 2012 celebration will take place on Friday, April 20, with the beginning of jamming on the Square, as well as Master Classes in the afternoon, and the Live Country Auction that night. Scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday are the MainStage performances, more jamming on the Square, free music workshops, and a full schedule of children's activities. Dance teams from John C. Campbell Folk School will perform on Saturday, an old-time Mountain Dance will take place on Saturday evening, and the popular Gospel Jam led be Glenda Pender will be held Sunday morning. More details about the festival, including the schedules of events, complete lineup of performers and artists, list of sponsors, and updates between now and the event, can be found at www.bearonthesquare.org
Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, Inc. which stages the event each year, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit cultural arts organization. A new program, Friends of Bear, is available as a way for individuals, businesses and organizations to give financial support toward presenting the festival. Information about how to make tax deductible donations can be found on the Bear on the Square website.