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Mountain Moonshine Festival 'Best Ever'
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The 47th Annual Mountain Moonshine Festival could go down in history as one of the best festivals Dawsonville has ever seen.

This was a really good year, festival promoter and KARE for Kids President Calvin Byrd said. I think were going to be right along with our biggest year ever.

Byrd estimates parking attendants parked about 4,000 more cars than they have in the past five or six years.

Attendees had plenty to see and do once they arrived. More than 400 vendors flooded Dawsonville with arts, crafts, food, clothes, sunglasses and more.

There were also more than 1,500 vintage and antique cars on display throughout the festival and at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Live music and entertainment played on two stages in the city throughout the weekend.

NASCARs Bill and Chase Elliott were also on hand for signings and photographs. Bill and Chase Elliott added to the overall excitement of what was the best festival ever, Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said.

Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes echoed the mayors thoughts.

We are thrilled with how everything went for the 47th Annual Mountain Moonshine Festival, Haynes said. The beautiful weather, new layout and dedication of many amazing volunteers and the Kare for Kids organization made this the best festival weve ever had.

Haynes said the Best Western, Comfort Inn, Amicalola Falls Lodge and the Super 8 hotels all sold out for the weekend. This was certainly a banner year for us, she said. People traveled from all over the country to attend the festival. We came down Thursday night, Donnie Weiner of Columbus, Ohio, said. Weiner said he and his four friends took a road trip to travel down for the festival.

Sisters Shelly Noreen of Milledgeville and Amy Phillips of Madison said they heard about the festival on the radio. We just thought wed ride up here and make a day of it, Phillips said. The two sisters enjoyed playing Black Jack at the casinos inside the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Money raised by the casinos went to support the Hall of Fame.

GRHOF President Gordon Pirkle said the festival brought a record-breaking weekend to the Hall. We had about the same amount of cars at the car show, but as far as spectators go, I think we doubled it, Pirkle said.

Pirkle said he thought the increase of spectators and traffic to the museum was due to the change in the traffic route. Highway 53 was closed to incoming traffic just past Bojangles. The change in traffic improved the car show. I heard no complaints, Pirkle said.

With the success of the festival, Byrd said Kare for Kids will be able to provide Christmas gifts to more than 700 children in need in Dawson County.

As long as they are a Dawson County resident and theres a need, were hoping to be able to fulfill that need, Byrd said.

Byrd said many people helped make the festival a success. Just a special thanks to the people that live in Dawsonville for putting up with the festival, Byrd said. I know when you live here it can be a little bit of a hindrance, and we appreciate all their patience and understanding because all the money raised goes back into the community.

Byrd also thanked the Kare for Kids board members and volunteers. It wouldnt be possible without all their hard work, he said. Byrd also thanked the Dawsonville City Council, Dawson County Board of Commissioners, Dawson County Emergency Services and the Dawson County Sheriffs Office.

It truly is a community event, he said.