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Focus is the kids
Record crowd attends event
2 Moonshine pic1
Adelynn Odum of Forsyth County gets her face painted by Deborah Phillips on Sunday during the 44th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival. - photo by Stephanie Griffin Dawson Community News

Organizers say the 44th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival in downtown Dawsonville was a record breaker.

"I've never seen people start arriving on Wednesday for the festival," said Gordon Pirkle, a longtime member of KARE for Kids, which organizes the event.

A mock moonshine run through the north Georgia Mountains kicked off the weekend festivities Friday morning.

That was followed by a swap meet, car show and Georgia Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony that night.

"I bet we had close to 1,000 show cars here this weekend," Pirkle said. "We've never had that many."

Proceeds from the festival, which continued Saturday and Sunday, benefit KARE for Kids' efforts to provide Christmas presents to children in Dawson County. The three-day event drew an estimated 140,000 people.

"Right now, we're looking at about $133,000 that we've raised," said Calvin Byrd, KARE for Kids president. "That's up about $20,000 from last year."

Byrd said about $30,000 will be distributed to local organizations, including Boy and Girl Scouts and the Dawson County High School JROTC, for their help during the festival.

The remaining funds will be used to buy Christmas gifts and necessities for local children in need.

"We have definitely turned our focus to Christmas now," Byrd said. "We've already set up some Christmas shopping days."

The group will begin accepting applications for holiday assistance Oct. 29.

Last year, proceeds from the festival allowed KARE for Kids to provide more than 750 children with Christmas gifts, clothing and a holiday feast.

"Probably 80 percent of our revenue comes from outside the county, since we only have a handful of Dawson County vendors," Byrd said. "It's great that other people are helping us buy toys for our kids in Dawson County to have Christmas."

Byrd thanked the community for supporting KARE for Kids through the festival.

"I want to thank all the people that were interrupted by the festival for being patient and all of our volunteers," he said. "Without them, it wouldn't be possible."

For more information on KARE for Kids, call (706) 216-KARE or visit