The Friday night of Dahlonega's upcoming 17th annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival will be a festive occasion centered around its Live Country Auction in the MainStage Tent just across the street from Hancock Park.
Activities on Friday night, April 19, will include both a live and a silent auction, music and food in the tent, to be located this year at the intersection of North Park Street and Warwick Street. The silent auction bidding and preview of live auction items will get underway at 5 p.m. Food service and music will begin at 5:30 p.m. with catering provided by Shenanigans Irish Pub and the Bourbon Street Grille of Dahlonega. As always, there will be no charge for food or wine, but donations will be accepted to offset the cost of the event. Music for the Live Country Auction will be performed by the Sons of Bluegrass, a group comprised entirely of high caliber majors from the one-of-a-kind, four-year B.A. in bluegrass music program at East Tennessee State University.
The live auction bidding will start at 7 p.m. with professional auctioneer Sam Williamson returning to run the show. Silent auction bidding will end promptly at 8 p.m.
Other Bear on the Square activities, including MainStage concerts featuring bluegrass and old-time musicians, jamming on Dahlonega's Historic Public Square by local and visiting musicians, a juried Artist Marketplace, workshops, a Gospel Jam, an old-time Mountain Dance, an Acoustic Open Mic session, and kids activities will take place during the weekend of April 20-21.
Glenda Pender, festival president, said the Friday night activities are actually a kickoff party held each year "to thank the community and our sponsors for their continued support of the Bear on the Square event." The auction features the work of noted folk artist Billy Roper, along with the work of other talented local artists and juried artists taking part in the festival's Artist Marketplace. Among them are artists from the John C. Campbell Folk School, which is Bear on the Square's Festival Sponsor. There will also be bidding on gift baskets, individual items, services and other products from the local business community.
Melanie Pruitt, auction chair, expressed her "heartfelt thanks" to the community for past and continued support of the Bear auction. "My auction volunteers have been amazing, and the donations and support from local merchants and businesses is just superior. This support is what keeps the Bear going." The auction committee will begin accepting donations for this year's auction on Monday, March 25, and contributors can either bring their items to Cranberry Corners or contact Pruitt to have a procurement officer pick up the item. In order to have the contributing business or individual's name and donation listed in the auction catalog, the item must be brought in by Wednesday, April 17. Any items received after the deadline will not be listed in the public catalog.
Contributing businesses and individuals are asked to include a brief description of their item and its approximate retail value, and they will receive a receipt for tax purposes. Those having questions about the auction are asked to contact Pruitt at Melanie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, Inc., which stages the festival each year, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit cultural arts organization whose mission is to preserve and celebrate the culture of the Southern Appalachians through the presentation of music, traditional craft, and folkways. Tax deductible donations are welcome and can be sent to P.O. Box 338, Dahlonega, GA 30533. More details about the 2013 Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, including information about music performances, the juried artists marketplace, workshops, other activities, and sponsors, will be available at www.bearonthesquare.org