This weekend, dozens of festival-goers in tie-dyed t-shirts and bell-bottom jeans flocked to Uncle Shuck's Corn Maze in Dawson County to attend the second annual Hippie Fest, a grassroots festival aimed at celebrating all things colorful and groovy.
According to Uncle Shuck's owner Mathew Hughes, this year’s two-day festival included over 100 vendors and saw crowds of visitors despite rainy weather.
"There were some vendors that left because the places they live are getting hit hard with the storm, but [on Saturday] there were 120 vendors,” Hughes said. “So it’s been a good turnout, and I noticed too that a lot of our vendors this year are local.”
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Jimmy Loudermilk, owner of Coal Mountain Panjo and one of the local vendors who participated in Hippie Fest, said that having a local event to sell his wares is a big blessing for him and his business.
“It has been great; this is our second year doing it and we just live on the edge of Silver City so it’s very close for us,” Loudermilk said. “And I will be here next year; it’s such a positive thing.”
Loudermilk makes banjos, which he calls “panjos”, out of everyday items like pieces of wood or old baking pans. He has been making panjos for about 12 years and has participated in festivals like Hippie Fest for about seven years. According to Loudermilk the environment of Hippie Fest is a very positive place for a vendor like himself.
“I think sometimes when people hear that the Hippie Fest is coming they associate it with the Rainbow Family or something, but it’s a totally different thing and very positive,” Loudermilk said. “Everybody is very positive, nobody is trying to bring you down, so it’s just a good time.”
Stephanie Zier, who owns the Cincinnati-based company Funky Sunshine, has participated in several different Hippie Fest events across the country with her handcrafted tie-dyed clothing, including last year’s Dawson County event.
“We make all this tie-dye and we have a storefront in Cincinnati so we pack it all up to come down here,” Zier said. “This is our second time here in Georgia — we had the one last year in March and this has been a good weekend despite the rain. We love the Hippie Fest.”
Hughes said that he’s excited to have gotten the chance to host Hippie Fest again this year, and that he hopes to be able to host it again next year.
“I was happy to host it again, and I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to do it again next year,” Hughes said.