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Sipped or gulped, 'shine is all legal
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For the first time in its 45-year history, authentic moonshine made in Dawsonville was sold during the Mountain Moonshine Festival legally.

Dwight Bearden, who helps operate the Dawsonville Distillery with owner Cheryl Wood, said he met thousands of people during the two-day festival last weekend, but one woman from Jonesboro stood out in his mind.

She said she never tasted no moonshine before, and I told her I cant give you a free sample yet, but you go out there and buy yourself a shot, he said.

The visitor asked Bearden if she should gulp it or sip it.

Do it anyway you wanna do it, he said. If it was me, and Id never drunk some before, Id sip it. She said that shed always heard it would just burn you up, but she said its actually good.

City Liquors owner Russ Marcotte agrees.

The taste as far as corn liquor goes was very dominate, he said. It is very interesting and intriguing, and I will say it is extremely smooth.

Marcotte purchased 300 750ml bottles, or roughly 60 gallons. He said he had sold out by 1 p.m. on Saturday.

This was the first time in five years that we came out ahead, he added. Once I ran out, people purchased other moonshine brands I carry. The Dawsonville moonshine definitely prompted an interest in moonshine in general. I will definitely be buying more.

Currently, moonshine from the distillery is distributed through liquor stores. Wood said her intent is to distribute through as many as 170 locations throughout the state.

If all goes well, it will be late November or December before we can produce the volume needed.

Wood is using a family recipe passed down through at least five generations. Unlike many moonshine recipes, Woods does not contain sugar, which means lesser amounts of the moonshine are produced.

Were not going to sacrifice quality for quantity, she said.

Also during the festival, recipients for this years Car Awards were selected. The winners were:

Harold Heard Award

Jerry Dickson Best Moonshine Car Display

Ernest Allen Award

Ron Phillips Most Original Moonshine Car

Larry LaPrade Award

Phil Perrine Longest Run (577 miles from Virginia)

Raymond Parks Award

Donald Brooks Most Original Race Car

Fred Goswick Award

Cecilia Matthews, Ginnys Nuts and Fudge

This years festival for the first time included a drive-in movie for families with children (insert movie name). The parking lot at the new courthouse was blocked off and an inflatable screen was used.

The event was a great success, said Chris Gaines, who serves on the Dawsonville City Council and the Downtown Development Authority. The lot was pretty much filled up, so next time I think we will need to have a larger venue, but it worked well this time.

According Robin Smith, president of KARE for Kids, the festival had approximately 60 more vendors this year than last, and more cars. All proceeds from the festival benefit KARE for Kids.

We had almost 700 cars on Saturday and a little over 100 on Sunday, even with the terrible weather. Sixty trophies were awarded on Saturday and another 30 on Sunday, she said.

Smith said she would like to thank the city, the sheriffs department, fire department, parking organizations, volunteers, clean-up crew, and all of the festivals sponsors.

We couldnt do it without you, she said.