With thousands of visitors descending on Dawsonville during the 49th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival, local authorities are asking motorists to plan their routes and avoid the downtown area if not attending the festival.
To accommodate the parade and increased foot traffic as well as offer better security for vendors and visitors, many streets through downtown Dawsonville will close Friday at 5 p.m., and remain closed until Sunday night around 9 p.m.
To help alleviate some of the traffic, the following suggestions should be considered:
Those coming from areas north of Dawsonville, such as Lumpkin or White counties, should consider using Ga. 400 and exiting at Hwy. 136. Turn right onto Hwy. 136 and follow it to Hwy. 9, turn left and then follow it into Dawsonville.
Those coming from Atlanta, or any location south of Dawsonville, should head north on Ga. 400 and turn left at Dawson Forest Road. Follow Dawson Forest to the intersection of Hwy. 9 and turn right. Follow Hwy. 9 into Dawsonville.
Drivers wanting to bypass the festival are encouraged to utilize Perimeter Road from Shoal Creek to Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 53.
More than anything, local authorities are asking everyone to minimize usage of Hwy. 53 from the intersection of Ga. 400 north on these days.
This road often fills to capacity and that creates long lines. With a little preplanning and common sense, everyone will arrive safely, and be ready to have a great time.
Parking for the festival is scattered throughout downtown Dawsonville and is easily assessable to all of the weekend activities.
Many lots throughout the downtown area, including the courthouse and United Community Bank, as well as the parking lots at area schools, including Dawson County Junior High, Dawson County High and Robinson Elementary are set aside for festival parking.
Shuttles will be available to cart visitors to and from the high school's parking area as well as Robinson Elementary's parking area to the Presbyterian Church on the corner of Hwy 53 and Hwy 9. There will be an additional shuttle running from the Church of God of Prophecy on Hwy 53 between Perimeter Road and the Post Office to the Presbyterian Church.
Local Boy Scouts will monitor the festival's official parking lots where parking is $10 per car. The primary handicap parking lot will be at BK Sports. Each parking lot should have some handicap parking as well.
Proceeds from official lots, which will be easy to identify with large blue and white signs, benefit K.A.R.E. for Kids and the Boy Scouts. Parking fees charged at unofficially-marked lots are not dispersed to K.A.R.E. for Kids, which holds the festival to provide Christmas presents to local children.