Category Archives: Blairsville Festivals

Bil Lepp telling at the 2017 Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival -- photo by Nathan Baerreis

Become Part of the Story at the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival!

Many travelers don’t realize that Georgia has mountains–wild, beautiful, and home to a rich legacy of Appalachian culture. Minutes away from Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia, but only two hours from Atlanta, Union County Schools Fine Arts Center in Blairsville, GA, will celebrate Appalachian culture, particularly the spoken word tradition, by hosting the fourth annual Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival on 13-14 April 2018. The festival will showcase the art of Southern storytelling with a particular focus on Appalachian stories, both traditional and contemporary. The GMSF offers storytelling and musical performances, children’s events, and workshops.

In addition, The Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival will offer a free workshop for veterans titled “Story Medicine: Healing through Storytelling.” “As part of our mission of bringing storytelling to underserved audiences, we are developing community outreach programs to meet the needs of specific groups in our region for whom storytelling can be a source of healing: veterans, those affected by terminal illness, and victims of domestic abuse, for example. This year, we will offer an intensive workshop for military veterans,” said Ruth Looper, festival co-director. “Sharing stories about wartime experiences, whether verbally or in writing, is widely recognized as an important mechanism for healing. New York City’s Warrior Writing Project, the Veterans Writing Projects at VA medical centers in San Diego and Washington, D.C., and The Telling Project in Seattle have enabled thousands of veterans to speak about and come to terms with their experiences. Veterans living in rural communities like ours have less access to these kinds of programs, and we aim to change that.”

This interactive workshop will combine listening, writing, sharing, and discussion in small and large groups. Participants will be given the tools to increase mindfulness and develop a sense of belonging, a capacity for personal reflection, healthy emotional outlets, and a livelier imagination. The workshop will be led by Regi Carpenter (www.regicarpenter.com), a professional storyteller and workshop facilitator who has presented her therapeutic workshops throughout the United States, South America, and Asia for hospice organizations, non-profits, hospitals, veterans, cancer treatment centers, and bereavement organizations.

This free workshop will take place Sunday, April 15, from 2-5 PM at the Union County Community Center in Blairsville, Georgia. Seating is limited, so please sign up early by emailing info@gamountainstoryfest.org. Workshop participants will also receive free tickets to this year’s Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival.

About Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, Inc.

Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing meaningful opportunities for an underserved audience to engage with storytelling through hearing stories and attending workshops that will develop their cultural intelligence through the arts of listening and speaking. We celebrate a variety of diverse traditions while showcasing the voices of Appalachia.  For more information, go to www.gamountainstoryfest.org.

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Spring Festival Preview 2018

The official start of Spring is just around the corner, which means that it’s almost festival season in Blairsville-Union County! You’ll find something for every member of the family at these fun and festive events, from storytelling and music to arts and crafts and games. These festivals celebrate the rich history of our area and provide great opportunities for visitors to experience and explore all that Blairsville has to offer. Without further adieu, here’s a quick preview of the festivals coming up this spring…

Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival
April 13 & 14
www.gamountainstoryfest.org

Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival
May 26 & 27, 10am-5pm
www.unioncountyhistory.org

Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games
June 9 & 10, 9am-5pm
www.blairsvillescottishfestival.org

Be sure to mark your calendars for these awesome festivals, we’d love to see you there!

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Top 10 things to do in Blairsville-Union County for 2018

1. Eat collard greens & black eyed peas
After all, it’s a southern tradition. Eat these as your first meal for the New Year and you will increase your luck and prosperity for the year ahead. Let the Chamber connect you with local farmers so all your meals are sure to be fresh.

2. Hike Brasstown Bald
Experience the wonders of nature at 4,784 feet above sea level. Get your blood pumping and oxygen flowing through your lungs with this moderate difficulty 0.6 mile Summit hike.

3. Wear a kilt at the Scottish Festival
You don’t have to be Scottish to wear a kilt. Find out your tartan colors, enjoy the Highland Games and nosh on some Scottish delicacies the second weekend in June.

4. Fly fish on the Nottely River
Brown trout, rainbow trout, and native trout are abundant in our freshwater mountain streams. Grab some flies and a pole and head out to the headwaters of the Nottely River, Coopers Creek, or Rock Creek for premier trout fishing.

5. Sip Moonshine
You can’t visit the south without tasting our famous moonshine. Grandaddy Mimms’ moonshine recipe has been passed down through the generations since the days of prohibition. Swing by the moonshine museum and learn about the history of this beverage.

6. Take a garden tour at Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center
Meander through a .25 mile loop of The Woodland Medicine Trail and discover numerous woodland wildflowers, herbs, fern and shrubs that were used extensively by Native Americans and early settlers. Then enjoy the Ethnobotanic Gardens containing plants that were harvested and often cultivated by early inhabitants of the region for medicinal, food, and craft uses.

7. Get wet at Helton Creek Falls
A rock slide for the kids and a veil of water to stand behind make Helton Creek Falls a must do activity for the young and young at heart. A short hike allows you to explore the beauty of both the upper and lower falls of Helton Creek.

8. Share a bag of boiled peanuts
Sunrise Grocery on Hwy 129 features world famous boiled peanuts. Grab a bag of this southern delicacy and enjoy with your family and friends.

9. Discover past & present ghosts
History is alive in Union County. With abundant heritage tracking resources at the Union County Public Library, the Historic Courthouse on the Square, and a plethora of cemeteries, exploring your heritage back to the pre-Civil War era is a great way to connect with the past.

10. Sop up some sorghum biscuits
Nothing says Union County like the sweet smell of sorghum syrup cooking. Join the festivities of the Blairsville Sorghum Festival the second and third weekends in October for biscuit sopping, pole climbing, rock throwing, horseshoe throwing, and log sawing fun!

For more information about any of the above or various other activities available in Blairsville-Union County, please contact the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at 706-745-5789, online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com, or by visiting the Welcome Center inside the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road.

 

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‘Twas the First Weekend of December…

…and all through Blairsville-Union County there was holiday cheer as far as the eye could see! With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s full speed ahead with Christmas events for the whole family starting this weekend. Kick off your Christmas Season right with parades, caroling, shopping and so much more! Here’s a quick view of some of the events happening in our area this weekend…

Friday, December 1st
Tour of Trees
Blairsville Holiday Stop & Shop

Saturday, December 2nd
Kris Kringle Mountain Market
Christmas Parade
Holiday on The Square
Tour of Trees
Blairsville Holiday Stop & Shop

For a full listing of everything happening in Blairsville-Union County this holiday season, visit our Holiday 2017 page.

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Holiday Preview 2017

There’s just nothing like celebrating the holidays in the mountains, and there’s no better place to celebrate the season than Blairsville-Union County! We go all out for the holiday season, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy – from festive events like the Tour of Trees and Caroling on The Square to holly jolly shopping sprees like the Mistletoe Market and the Holiday Stop and Shop. Here are just a few of the holiday happenings coming up:

Mistletoe Market
November 18, 2017 9 am – 4 pm
November 19, 2017 11 am – 4 pm

Blairsville Holiday Stop & Shop                                                                                                                 December 1, 2017 11 am – 7pm                                                                                                                    December 2, 2017 11am – 7pm

Tour of Trees
Daily, December 1 – 31, 2017 9 am – 5 pm

Kris Kringle Mountain Market                                                                                                                  December 2, 2017 10 am – 3pm

Holiday on The Square and Christmas Parade
December 2, 2017

Holly Jolly Christmas
December 9, 2017 3 pm – 6 pm

Tree Lighting at Vogel State Park                                                                                                              December 9, 2017 4 pm – 7pm

There’s so much happening in our area this year that there’s a whole page of our website dedicated to all things Holiday-themed! Learn more about the winter wonderland that is Blairsville-Union County and plan your holiday journey with us at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com!

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Happy Hallo-weekend!

In less than a week, it’ll be Halloween! Here in Blairsville, there’ll be costumes, candy, tricks and treats for the whole family. We’ll be celebrating the season all weekend long with festivals and other fun events all over the area. Here’s just a glimpse of what’s going on this Halloween, and the weekend before, in Blairsville-Union County:

Haunted Hayride
Enjoy Joshua Dream Ranch’s Spook-Tacular Haunted Hayrides. Have a spooky fun time and help yourself to some gooey s’mores.
October 27, 28, & 31, 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Fall Festival at Vogel State Park
Celebrate Autumn at Vogel with Hayrides, a Cake Walk, Duck Race, Storytelling and more!
October 28, 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Downtown Blairsville Outdoor Movie Night                                                                                                Bring the family downtown for a free movie night featuring Disney’s Hocus Pocus. A costume contest will be held before the show.                                                                                                           October 31, 6:00 PM – 8 PM

Halloween on The Square
Games, costume contests, and lots of trick or treating.
October 31, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

There are lots of other fun events happening at some of the local wineries, restaurants, and other businesses this weekend. Since, this is just a small taste of all of the spooky happenings coming up, visit us online for a full listing of Fall Activities and Events happening this Halloween and Hallo-weekend!

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Fall Leaf Peeping 2017

One of the most commonly asked questions at the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is “when is the best time to see the leaves?” The answer to that question is difficult. The most common response is “the third and fourth week in October” However, there is a very scientific reason that determines the amount of color we are privileged to see in the autumn season. Let’s take a closer look at this.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, “The amount and brilliance of the colors that develop in any particular autumn season are related to weather conditions that occur before and during the time the chlorophyll in the leaves is dwindling. Temperature and moisture are the main influences.” While variations in these two factors ensure that no two autumns are alike, the consensus is that “A warm wet spring, favorable summer weather, and warm sunny fall days with cool nights should produce the most brilliant autumn colors.”

We believe that the autumn of 2017 is going to be a brilliant one! Make your plans to come visit the North Georgia Mountains from October through November. Some of the best leaf peeping spots in Blairsville-Union County are:

  1. Brasstown Bald – Highest natural point in Georgia. You can see beautiful colors for miles!
  2. Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway – Stunning, meandering road with breathtaking views.
  3. Lake Winfield Scott – The secret of Suches. Take a ride on Hwy 180 for delightful colors.
  4. Vogel State Park – Every angle provides exquisite vegetation for the leaf connoisseur.
  5. Blood Mountain – From the top of the Appalachian Trail, both the views and colors are sublime.

There are no shortages of activities in and around Blairsville-Union County this time of year. From festivals to fundraisers, music to motorcycles, and concerts to culture heritage, there is truly something for everybody! A full list of all the events and event details happening in and around town are available online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com. Here’s a small sampling of upcoming events:

  1. Blairsville Sorghum Festival – Oct. 14th, 15th, 21st, & 22nd from 9am-5pm at Meeks Park.
  2. Fall Hoedown – Oct. 21st from 12pm-7pm at Vogel State Park.
  3. Joshua Dream Ranch Corn Maze – Weekends in October on Hwy 76 just past the VA Clinic.

To keep an eye on the leaf changing over the next few weeks, check out http://gastateparks.org/LeafWatch or https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/. Both of these websites, and many others, will keep you up-to-date on the expected peak of fall for the North Georgia Mountains.

For detailed local area information including maps, directions, lodging, and upcoming event information please stop by The Welcome Center located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road, call 706-745-5789, email tourism@blairsvillechamber.com or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

 

 

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Fall Activities 2017

While Blairsville-Union County truly has something exciting going on all year long, Autumn is a particularly lively season for us. In addition to leaf peeping, hiking, and other outdoor activities, there are also a number of festivals and special events that only happen this time of year. We’ve got so much going on that we had to devote an entire page of our website to it – check it out!

From families to couples to friend groups and solo trips, you’ll find something for everyone! If fall and pumpkin everything is your jam, there’s no better place to celebrate the season than right here in Blairsville. What are you waiting for, get up here!

http://www.visitblairsvillega.com/explore-blairsville/solar-eclipse-2017/

Eclipse Recap

Remember the eclipse? It’s hard to believe that Blairsville-Union County got national news coverage and had thousands of people flock to our area for a once-in-a-lifetime lunar event, but here we are! For many of us, August 21 probably felt a little chaotic with all of the visitors and events going on. Now that the moon dust has settled and no one can find the eclipse glasses that they scrambled to buy at the last minute, we can take a step back and see just how big this experience was for our community. Here’s a quick look at the Blairsville Eclipse Experience by the numbers:

  • Over 15,000 visitors
  • 18,655 Glasses Sold
  • 2,820 Shirts Sold
  • 4 events Hosted by the Chamber: Astronomy Night, Totality Tailgate, Moon Over Meeks & Viewing at the IP
  • Nearly $4,000 raised for Civic Clubs and the Recreation Department
  • Estimated economic Impact: $200,000+

Who knew that a couple of minutes in total darkness would have such a bright impact on our community?

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We Are Still Here Statue Unveiling

This Thursday, September 21, Blairsville will host four heads of sovereign nations while commemorating their peoples as the original inhabitants of Union County and North Georgia.  The focal point of the project is the unveiling of a bronze statue by nationally renowned Pawnee/Cherokee artist, Daniel Horsechief of Sallissaw, Oklahoma. The statue, a ten foot bronze of a stick ball player, will serve as a permanent memorial to the Native Peoples that once called north Georgia home and their descendants.

The We Are Still Here Committee, a community project that began under the auspices of Leadership Union, is working closely with the tribal officials of the United Keetoowah Band, the Cherokee Nation and the Muskogee-Creek Nations all of Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina. This unveiling is particularly historic as it marks the return of the descendants of the Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee Indians to the north Georgia Mountains since the signing of the Treaty of the Cherokee Agency at Calhoun, Georgia 200 years ago.

This event has attracted attention far and wide, as a full-length documentary about the project (and the fact that the Nations would return for the first time in 200 years) has been made, an all native nations singing group has pledged that they would be here for the unveiling, and stickball teams from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians would be coming for the event as well. You don’t want to miss this historic unveiling, scheduled for 10 a.m. at Meeks Park on Thursday, September 21.