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Weekend festival full of fun

Kicks off with Moonshine Run

POSTED: October 24, 2012 4:00 a.m.
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Be sure to get your copy of the 45th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival guide published in this week’s print edition of the Dawson Community News. Inside you’ll find a complete listing of events, entertainers and activities that begin Friday and run through Sunday evening.

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Dawsonville's unique history comes alive this weekend with the 45th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival.

The festivities begin Friday morning with the annual "Moonshine Run" that begins at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

Later that night, the events continue with the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame's induction ceremony, followed by a classic car cruise-in and live band at the Dawsonville Municipal Complex.

Early the next day, the roar of moonshine-era cars will fill the town as a procession of 1940 Fords line the square and signal the start of the weekend festival, which draws hundreds of vendors from across the Southeast to Dawsonville.

Serving as grand marshal, championship car owner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bud Moore will lead the parade and announce the festival's official start about 9 a.m. on the main stage near Dawsonville's Historic Courthouse.

Live entertainment and a variety of activities will continue throughout the weekend.

One of the most unique fall gatherings in north Georgia, the Mountain Moonshine Festival brings an estimated 100,000 visitors looking for mementos of a bygone era in Georgia history to Dawsonville every year.

Organizers are anticipating an even bigger crowd for the 45th annual event, which raises funds for Dawson County children in need.

"Every year we look for new ways to make the festival more fun for everybody," said Calvin Byrd, president of K.A.R.E. for Kids, which puts on the festival.

New this year is a free concert Saturday night featuring Feedback and Across the Wide in the Winner's Circle at the Dawsonville Municipal Complex.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and organizers encourage everyone to bring chairs or blankets to enjoy an evening of live entertainment under the stars.

"We think this concert is going to be a real good time," Byrd said.

Organizers also expect the grand opening of the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery to be a big draw for this year's festival.

"They're in there making legal moonshine right now," said volunteer Gordon Pirkle. "Now that's something to see."

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