An estimated 100,000 visitors are expected at this weekends Dawsonville Mountain Moonshine Festival, the largest in its 47 year history, if the weather holds out.
Called the second largest car show in the world by this years grand marshal, Hubert Platt, the festival will feature more than 1,500 cars or every vintage imaginable, plus arts, crafts, food vendors and some of the best local musicians this side of the Mississippi.
NASCAR great Bill Elliott will sign bottles of his newly launched Dawsonville Moonshine,Saturday, Oct. 25, 2:30 - 3:30at City Liquors in downtown Dawsonville. He will make a second appearance, same location,on Sunday, Oct. 26, 1 - 2 p.m.Sprint Cup points leader, and Bill Elliotts son, Chase Elliott will make appearance Saturday, Oct. 25, 1 - 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Sponsored by Kare for Kids, a local non-profit that started 21 years ago with a goal of brightening the lives of less fortunate children in Dawson County, the festival is held to ensure every child in the county has a Christmas present under the tree.
And, due to the growing popularity of the festival, the group has expanded.
Weve reached out to give year-round assistance, Kare for Kids President Calvin Byrd said.
The organization also provides eye glasses, school supplies, winter coats, toys, clothes and other items for Dawson County children.
This years festival honors J.B. Day of Easley, S.C., who died earlier this year. Day started bringing race cars to Dawsonville more than 20 years ago.
When I first started comin, you couldnt even tell they was having a festival cause no one was there, Day said during an interview last year. There was only one car, and it was Gober Sosebees. I recognized his car before I recognized him.
Day said he hadnt seen Sosebee in 20 years, and the two of them talked most of the day. It was then that Day hatched an idea.
The first car we got to bring to the festival was a David Pearson, Day said, his voice filled with child-like enthusiasm. Thats what started it all.
Over the years, that small idea led to more than 15 race cars being brought to downtown Dawsonville last year. These one-of-a-kind vintage stock cars are one of the main attractions of the festival. They will be lined up on Highway 53 near the old courthouse.
Days friends plan to continue the tradition this year.
Festivities beginFriday, Oct. 24,with an all-day car show at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, a vintage Moonshine Run through the north Georgia mountains, and a Grand Casino eventfrom 6 - 9 p.m.at the hall of fame. Registration opensat 10 a.m.
On Saturday, Oct. 25, the parade begins at 9 a.m.on Highway 53 in front of the hall of fame with opening ceremonies followingat 10 a.m.And starting at 11 a.m, Peyton Porter Band takes the Finish Line Stage, followed by Kenny Batty Band, Music Authoritys Rise, Sherry Ridgeway, Bad Habits Band, and Jacob Brayant Band.
A silent auction opensat 8 a.m.at the hall of fame and closes at 1 p.m. It is followed by a live auction. Auction items include four, six-day, five-night packages in Daytona Beach, or Destin, Fla., or a package for Vail, Colo., or a Dahlonega River Cottage. And, for Bulldog fans, there are two tickets on the 50-yard line for the UGA v. Auburn game, plus other items, including a houseboat cruise on Lake Lanier.
Then,on Sunday, Oct. 26, a car show runsfrom 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., with music from four bands, including Peyton Porter, Logan Hammond and Shakey Willow.
All festival proceeds benefit Kare for Kids.