Spring was in the air over the weekend as thousands flocked to downtown Dawsonville for the Dawson County Arts Council’s 11th annual Spring Fling Festival.
Formerly known as Art in the Garden, the two-day event was held Saturday and Sunday at the Bowen Center for the Arts. It featured more than 60 vendors offering an array of garden-inspired art, collectibles and flowers just in time for spring.
Karen Smith, owner of Abbott Creek Nursery in Dawsonville, said the festival exceeded her expectations.
“It was amazing to get more exposure,” she said. “We had some people from the festival actually come out to our greenhouse the next day saying they need a few more plants.”
Council President Jeanne Tompkins said she was pleased with the turnout.
“Saturday went wonderfully well,” she said. “Then on Sunday we had a fewer attending, but they came from farther away.”
Ann Bosworth, a jewelry artist from Dawsonville, said she enjoyed meeting people from so many different places.
“That was fun,” she said. “I like beads from different countries and telling people where they are from. I have beads from Nepal, Africa, the Czech Republic and some from the United States.”
Proceeds from the weekend event benefit the art center’s many community programs.
“We’re not trying to make a profit,” Tompkins said. “Our goal is to make enough to pay our director’s salary, build up our children’s programs and offer more classes. We want to be a service for our community.”
Council members also added activities to the festival this year in an effort to increase the arts center’s visibility.
“We had a variety of demonstrations, a blacksmith and a wood artist, live music throughout the weekend, and we kept the gallery open to show people that we do have art shows here,” she said.
To kick off the weekend, the group held a street dance with live music Friday night.
Staff Writer Chelsea Thomas contributed to this story.