On Saturday afternoon, Uncle Shucks’ Corn maze and Pumpkin Patch in Dawsonville was a hive of peaceful vibes and good times.
Despite the rain and mud, children chased giant soap bubbles for hours running through the newly cut grass as people in brightly tie-dyed shirts perused through lines of classic cars, tents and canopies, and the words of “Brown Eyed Girl” floated over the festivities, played by a long-haired musician with an acoustic guitar.
Hippie Fest had come to Dawson County.
According to festival organizers, Hippie Fest is a grassroots music and arts festival celebrating all things bright, colorful and bohemian. The festival tours around the country, setting up in different cities and featuring live music, a vintage hippie car show, a bubble garden, cirque performers, DIY tie-dye, and dozens of vendors offering unique handmade wares for purchase. While Hippie Fest itself has been going on for several years, this was the first one to come to Dawson County.
Tripp Mills and his wife Missy, owners of the Sunshine Tie-Dye Company, have now participated in three different Hippie Fest events.
“This is our third festival, and we honestly love it,” Tripp said. “It’s such an awesome atmosphere - it’s like the atmosphere of a Grateful Dead show.”
The Mills’ company is based out of Pawleys Island, SC, but they enjoy participating in Hippie Fest so much that they are willing to travel to different states for different festivals.
“We love the people, the atmosphere; everyone’s so friendly and nobody’s a stranger,” Missy said.
The classic cars are another attraction to the festival, according to Tripp.
“I love seeing all the cars,” Tripp said. “They just take me back to the way it was when I was a teenager.”
While the festival is nostalgic for many, it offers entertainment for people of all ages. One of the features is a giant “bubble garden” for children, along with a “DIY tie-dye” station giving anyone who wants to try their hand at making their own tie-dyed t-shirt the chance to do so.
Each festival also features a lineup of live musicians ranging in style from bluegrass to ‘60s rock to Motown and Funk, and cirque performers who roam the festival with stilts, ribbons and hula hoops to entertain anyone who wants to watch them. The dozens of vendors, each one offering its own unique wares, provide many opportunities for bohemian shopping.
But one of the biggest attractions to the shopping at the festival is that everything is handmade.
“They asked that everything be handmade,” said Jennifer Denalsky, owner of Juniper Lane boutique, one of the vendors at the event. “So, everything is kind of grassroots which is cool. And it’s really a fun environment all the way around; who doesn’t love peace and love.”
With the weather being overcast and rainy for the weekend Hippie Fest was scheduled in Dawson County, some of the vendors were worried that the turnout might not be as large as expected, but despite the rain and mud hundreds of people still showed up to the festival.
“I’m impressed so many people are still here,” said Michelle Roberts, representative for Young Living Essential Oils, another vendor at Hippie Fest. “We were worried with the rain and with everything else going on that there might not be a lot of people here, but we’ve had a really good turnout so far.”