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50th annual Moonshine Festival this weekend
Moonshine preview pic
Festival-goers gather for the parade at the 49th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville. - photo by Allie Dean

It’s an historic year for Dawsonville’s Mountain Moonshine Festival, which is now celebrating its 50th year.

Thousands will descend upon the small town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains this weekend to sample all that north Georgia craftsmen have to offer. From homemade goods and furniture to delectable food and fun for children, there is something for everyone at the festival that started half a century ago under the direction of Dawsonville resident Fred Goswick.

From its humble beginnings as the fall festival in 1967 to when the Jacyees took over in 1970 to when Gordon Pirkle helped start the StarBright Foundation, what is now known as K.A.R.E. for Kids, in 1993, the festival has grown and enriched the lives of those who live in Dawsonville and the surrounding area.

K.A.R.E. for Kids now hosts the festival each year as a fundraiser to help the 501(c)3 give local children Christmas presents and other assistance throughout the year. 

The weekend will start on Oct. 27 with registration and a car show and all-day swap meet. A parade at 9 a.m. Oct. 28 will start the festival with a bang, with opening ceremonies following immediately after at 10 a.m.

At the opening ceremonies, 2017 inductees to the Moonshine Hall of Fame and Georgia Racing Hall of Fame will be honored.

Inductees to the Moonshine Hall of Fame will be Junior Johnson of North Wilkesboro, N.C., John Henry Shoffeittas of Dahlonega, Frank Bearden of Cumming, John Will Phillips of Auburn, Ala. and LD Chester of Dawsonville.

The inductees will be joined by family as they accept their awards and tell stories of their moonshine-making past.

Five racers from across the motorsports spectrum will make up the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame inductees. The five, who will be inducted in a Nov. 11 ceremony at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, are Garry Dingler, Jabez Jones, Mike Love, Doc Bundy and the late Bobby Johns.

The festival will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 28 and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 29.

See the festival guide for more information on the festival, including the entertainment and events schedules and a parking map.