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K.A.R.E. for Kids finalizes parking for 54th Annual Moonshine Festival
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Attendees from all over flocked to the 53rd annual Mountain Moonshine Festival on the weekend of Oct. 23 to Oct. 25. - photo by Ben Hendren

At the Sept. 20 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, K.A.R.E. for Kids representatives updated city council members on the most current plans for the upcoming 54th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival, with the confirmation of parking lots for the event weekend . 

K.A.R.E. for Kids President Rhonda Evans, along with Councilman William Illg, met with the owners of the biggest businesses in the city hall complex, including Food Lion, Bojangles and the Dawson County Board of Education. In those meetings, K.A.R.E. received written confirmation from all three entities for use of their parking lots throughout the event weekend. 

“The meeting that we had with Todd at Food Lion was great,” Councilman Illg said at the meeting. “The citizens don’t get to see a non-profit, a for-profit and a government all work together to pull something like this off, but I got to see it and I was so proud — proud of you guys, proud of Food Lion and proud of our city.” 

The first map for the festival showed their stage in an area that might hinder the trucks entering and leaving Food Lion, so the two agreed to move the stage and added she and other festival leadership are working on finalizing maps of where the vendors, car show and performance stage will go. 

Evans also met with Fire Chief and EMA Director Danny Thompson to  provide 14 feet along the curbs for emergency vehicles to get through if necessary. She said that she plans to meet with all parties involved, including the fire department and sheriff’s office, closer to the event to make sure that they are all on the same page going into the festival.

Covid-19 guidelines and requirements for the festival were also addressed at the City Council meeting. 

“At this time there are no state mandates or limitations or requirements, and so we’re just here to report that we will abide by those as they are governed by the state if there are any on Oct. 22,” Evans said. 

According to Evans, there are currently 200 vendors signed up for the festival. While this is a lower number than past years, she said that it is up from what it was last year. 

All profits from the Moonshine Festival go into K.A.R.E. for Kids’ Christmas program, helping the organization provide Christmas gifts for local children in need. Council Member Mark French added to what Illg said, applauding Evans and her team for keeping their focus on their mission and putting their time and effort to bring a joyful Christmas to the children. 

“I certainly do appreciate you and everybody with your organization,” French said. “I’ve had an opportunity to meet with them a couple times, and your commitment to these children and seeing to it that they have a better Christmas than they would have otherwise had is definitely to be commended.” 

The festival, which will be from Oct. 22 through 24, will take place in and around Dawsonville City Hall, the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and Main Street Park.