Rain, cold and winds this weekend may have taken away from vendor profits and kept the normally huge crowds at bay, but the 50th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival trucked along anyway.
The parade, normally marking the beginning of the festivities at 9 a.m. Saturday, was pushed back due to wet roads and held instead at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
The grand marshal, Jody Ridley, was able to make the rescheduled parade, but many of the past grand marshals who had been invited to participate in the parade as part of the 50th anniversary were unable to attend.
A small opening ceremony was held directly following the parade, in which K.AR.E. for Kids President David McKee thanked attendees.
The festival is held by K.A.R.E. each year to raise funds to give underprivileged children in Dawson County Christmas gifts and clothes.
Also at the opening ceremony, local historian and businessman Gordon Pirkle presented the 2017 humanitarian award.
The award was first given to Pirkle last year, and he was given the opportunity to select the new recipient of the award. He chose Jacky Jones.
“It was a shock and a great honor last year, they surprised me with this award,” Pirkle said.”this one should have got it the first year. Nobody helps this festival more than Jacky Jones. He’s the one who first started bringing the 40 Fords to the festival and each year it's unbelievable how many cars he loans to this organization so we can put this parade on.”
Jones was not able to attend the ceremony and receive the award, but Pirkle later presented him with the award.
K.A.R.E. Executive Director Tiffany Buchan said on Tuesday that the 501(c)3 had not yet totaled the proceeds of the festival, but that the rain and subsequent cold meant revenue won’t quite match up to it's normal $80,000 to $90,000 mark.
“The rain and stuff wasn’t what we expected
and hoped for, but were have been blessed for many many years to have great
weather,” said Buchan. “We just really suffered in our parking this weekend
unfortunately. That’s normally our biggest revenue.”
Buchan said too that many vendors did not set up due to the rain. Vendors pay in advance for their spots, so none of that money was lost.
“We will really have to go hard in the next couple of weeks to reach out to sponsors,” Buchan said. “We don’t want to have to turn anyone away and we want to serve as many kids as possible.”
Sponsors can contact K.A.R.E. for Kids at (706) 216-5273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsorship information sheets can be mailed to K.A.R.E. at P.O. Box 211 in Dawsonville.
For each child, the charity tries to provide three full outfits (three pants and three shirts), a jacket or coat, one pair of shoes, a package of socks and underwear and three Christmas items (which are advised to be two $20 items and one $50 item).
Sponsors have the option of sponsoring an item for a child, sponsoring a family with children or sponsoring multiple families with children.