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First fest big draw
Thousands gather for suds, music
1 Fest pic1
Malia Alles pours a beer Friday night during the inaugural Dawsonville Music and Beer Festival. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Dawsonville may have brewed a new tradition after a couple thousand enthusiasts spent the weekend sipping beer and supporting live local music behind city hall.

In its inaugural year, the Dawsonville Music and Beer Festival was an "off the hook" good time for Chris Thomas, who came from Ball Ground with friend Colin Denlea to check out what was on tap.

"We're beer enthusiasts, and we're glad to be here. We came to support local music and local events and cold beer," he said.

Added Denlea: "This is great. They have all the essentials: Ample amounts of food and beer, live music and a very professional sound system. Cheers."

With more than a dozen live bands playing Friday night and all day Saturday, as well as a variety of Georgia-based craft brewers, the festival was exactly what Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan hoped for when the city issued a permit months ago.

"This was so much fun. Everybody's having a great time. We've had no problems and all I'm hearing are good comments from everybody," he said. "They're all saying they want this to be an annual event."

Hansi Holloway said she was glad to see so many people in the city over the weekend.

"I think it's great for Dawsonville and great for the local businesses," she said. "I hope that they do it again."

Held in the parking lot and adjacent field behind the Dawsonville Municipal Complex, admission was $5 Friday and $10 on Saturday. Proceeds benefitted the Georgia Hall of Fame and Camp Southern Ground, musician Zac Brown's program for kids.

Rumors floated around throughout the two-day festival that Brown would make an appearance, but fans were not deterred when the reports proved untrue.

"We're having a fun time tonight," said David Slaton.

Originally from Charleston, S.C., where beer and music festivals are the norm, Slaton said he predicts Dawsonville's festival will keep "getting better and better."

"This is the first year and the bands have been great, so hopefully they'll get more vendors in and it will continue to grow," he said.

Jeremy Satterfield, lead guitarist for Dahlonega-based Coal Mountain Band, said he liked to see that too.

"Playing so close to home, we saw a lot of the regulars out there. We notice it a little more at every show. With every show, it keeps building up a little at a time," he said.

Bandmate Jordan Ligon agrees.

"The festival was great. What a fun time. We're trying to get out here, get as much exposure as possible, give the fans and everybody out there a good time," he said.