Film crews from the blockbuster "Hunger Games" movie franchise were in town last week filming scenes for "Mockingjay," the third segment in the popular series.
Christie Haynes, president of the local chamber of commerce and office of tourism development, said filming a movie the magnitude of "Hunger Games" could have a tremendous impact on economic development.
"You can look to Covington and Peachtree City as examples of communities in Georgia that now offer film tours to visitors and have brought in many new niche industries since becoming known as destinations for filming," she said.
"Vampire Diaries" and its spinoff "The Originals" have created a bustling entertainment business in both cities and the small towns nearby, with onlookers driving for miles hoping to get a glimpse of their favorite stars.
"Visitors want to see where a movie was shot, know who the actors and actresses were and learn where they stayed," Haynes said.
The crew arrived in town early last week and shot scenes on a large tract of private land off Elliott Family Parkway. As early as Sept. 24, they were seen hauling in large lights and industrial-strength fans.
Then, by Friday afternoon, everything was packed up and the crew on to the next set.
The local set was closed to the public. Local off-duty security officers kept away any onlookers, including a couple of paparazzi who had heard Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence might have been there.
It remains unclear if Lawrence, who plays "Hunger Games" heroine Katniss Everdeen, was on the set last week.
She was, however, spotted about a year ago at the local Starbucks and also shopping at the outlet mall. That was around the same time production crews were scouting Dawson to film scenes for "Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the second installment.
Advanced tickets for "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" went on sale Tuesday for a worldwide release Nov. 22.
Georgia has been one of the country's leading locations for Hollywood film production for a couple of years, thanks to the tax breaks and incentives the state offers the industry.
Many remember early 2012 when Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams were in town filming scenes from "Trouble with the Curve" at Amicalola Lodge just west of downtown Dawsonville. But it was long before that when Dawson County was first "discovered" by Hollywood.
"It was more than 100 years ago ... and everyone always talked about Dawsonville being so primitive, but we were ahead of our time," said Scott Goswick, a county native. "There wasn't even electricity here yet, but movie crews were here in the silent era and filmed up at Amicalola Falls."
Goswick said historical documentation credits the silent film's site as Dahlonega, but he's sure the crew "just didn't know where they were at."
"They came to Gainesville on train and then they took them to Dahlonega and then Amicalola Falls in Dawson County."