Category Archives: Buy Local

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?

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 1.40.40 PM

Union County Farmers Market

We may be nearing the end of the season, but there are still a few weeks left to experience the Union County Farmers Market! Check out this awesome video about our fabulous Farmers Market:

Upcoming events at the Union County Farmers Market:
September 19th – Beans, Greens & Cornbread
September 23rd – Butternut Creek Vegetable contest
September 30th – Celebrate Youth & Agriculture
October 7th – Blue Ridge Sweetness
October 17th – Simply Soup Night
October 21st – Biscuits & Jam
October 28th – Pumpkin Carving Contest

paddle boats at vogel smallish

Living for the Long Weekend

Everybody loves a good, long weekend! With Labor Day coming up, we thought we’d give you a roadmap for how to maximize your fun and relaxation right here in Blairsville-Union County! Just a couple of hours from major Southeastern hubs like Atlanta, Greenville, and Chattanooga, Blairsville is the perfect place to unplug and unwind for a few days. Let’s get started!

Ample Accommodations
There is a wide variety of options when it comes to staying in Blairsville, from traditional hotels and camping options to resorts and cabins. Whether you want a rugged outdoor weekend of “roughing it” or a luxury experience complete with wine tastings and spa days, we’ve got you covered!

Explore The Greater Outdoors
Get outside and do something fun! Blairsville has more outdoor activities to offer than we have time to talk about, including hiking, exploring Brasstown Bald (Georgia’s Highest Peak), horseback riding, making a splash in our amazing lakes, playing in some of the best parks in the South (including Vogel State Park), and so much more. There is truly something for everyone to explore, from families, to couples, group trips, and beyond! Learn more about all of the outdoor fun you can have in Blairsville-Union County here.

Eat Better in Blairsville
We aren’t your typical little mountain town with two restaurants that both close at 6pm. Dining options here include some of the best Barbecue and Southern cooking you can find, but our thriving food scene also includes Cuban cuisine, Seafood, Italian, American, Greek, farm to table, and much more! If you like to eat, you’ll never want to leave. Find a complete listing of restaurants in the area here.

Celebrate with Us
There’s always something going on in Blairsville-Union County, with fun festivals and special events happening all year long – like the Mountain Heritage Festival happening over Labor Day weekend. Check out our Festivals and Events pages for the latest scoop on what is happening and where.

What are you waiting for? Stop by visitblairsvillega.com/tourism to start planning your trip to Blairsville-Union County today!

Solar_eclipse_Image

Eclipse Weekend at a Glance

This weekend, we are celebrating a truly historic and exciting time for our area, and nobody knows how to celebrate better than the fine folks of Blairsville-Union County!  There are going to be activities all over the county to keep you and your family busy all weekend long. Here’s a quick rundown of just a few of the special events happening this weekend:

Friday, August 18
Start your day at the Union County Farmers Market for Trash & Treasures and end your evening by enjoying the old-time mountain music of Butternut Creek and Friends playing at 7pm at the Historic Courthouse on the Square. There is NO admission charge for this evening of old-time mountain music, Celtic and English folk songs, contemporary folk tunes, standards, and blues
, but voluntary donations to the maintenance fund are always welcomed and appreciated.

Saturday, August 19
Fun continues Saturday morning at the Farmers Market with the Honey Bee Jubilee from 7am-1pm. 
Saturday evening there is an outdoor Corner Concert on the Square featuring the Tom Floyd Band.

Sunday, August 20th
A special Astronomy Night event will be held at the Union County Fine Arts Center at 3pm featuring junior Astronomer David Hearn. Mr. Hearn will be providing a well-rounded scientific overview to educate and prepare you for everything you will experience on Monday during the Eclipse. Admission is $3 per person or $1 with a Union County School ID. Tickets are available at the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.

The Blairsville Eclipse Experience is presented by North Georgia Technical College – Blairsville Campus in partnership with the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about the eclipse and to locate viewing parties, please go to www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com/solar-eclipse-1017 for up to date information.

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

Blairsville Has You 100% Covered for the Eclipse

On Monday, August 21st, a once in a lifetime experience will occur in the US. For the first time in 99 years, a Total Solar Eclipse will be crossing the country from central Oregon through South Carolina in a 70-mile-wide path. Fortunately for us, Blairsville is in the path of totality and we will experience 1 minute and 58 seconds of totality! Don’t settle for less than 100% coverage for this incredible lunar experience!

We’ll be celebrating this incredible event all over Blairsville-Union County leading up to the eclipse, with several viewing parties and other events that will be taking place on August 21. Here’s just a taste of what we have in store (you can find the totality of our eclipse events here).

Sunday, August 20th

Astronomy Night
3 – 4 pm, Union County Fine Arts Center
Admission is $3 per person or $1 with a Union County School ID.

Learn about the Total Solar Eclipse and everything you will experience during the totality. Astronomer David Hearn will be providing a well-rounded overview to educate and prepare you for the Eclipse.

Event sponsored by North Georgia Technical College, Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce, and UC Schools.

Monday, August 21st

Meeks Moon Party
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Meeks Park

Spend the day at Meeks Park with your friends and family. Bring your chairs or blankets. Food trucks will be onsite for your dining pleasure.  

Sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of Towns/Union, Union County Recreation Department, and the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.  

Viewing @ The IP
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT, Blairsville Industrial Park

Enjoy a clear unobstructed view of the sky surrounded by stunning mountains. The Viewing at the IP will feature plenty of parking, food trucks, music and a perfect location to enjoy this once in a lifetime event! Bring your chairs/blankets.

Sponsored by the Union County Rotary Club and the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.

Totality Tailgate
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT, Union County Schools Fine Arts Center

Join your friends and neighbors for a viewing party at the Union County Fine Arts Center. This is a fun way to experience this once in a lifetime event with your community! Bring your chairs/blankets or tailgate from your vehicle. Food trucks will be available for your dining pleasure.

Sponsored by United Community Bank Junior Board, Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce, and UC Schools.

Have a boat? Lake Nottely, with its 4,180-acres will be an ideal place to enjoy the eclipse. Three marinas, which will all host events, will have boats and jet skis available to rent. With ¾ of our county protected by US Forest Service land, almost every location you can find in Blairsville-Union County offers wide open spaces for viewing with a stunning mountain backdrop.

The Blairsville Eclipse Experience is presented by North Georgia Technical College – Blairsville Campus in partnership with the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about the eclipse and to locate viewing parties and other local events, visit the official Blairsville Eclipse Experience website. Blairsville Eclipse Experience safety glasses and commemorative t-shirts are available at the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. Glasses are $2 each and shirts start at $13.

back-to-school-999248_640

Back to School 2017

The first day of school is approaching fast in Blairsville-Union County, which presents new challenges and opportunities for both families and businesses. While many parents welcome the return to a “normal” schedule and a consistent routine for their children, others lament the loss of a more open schedule that allows for fun trips and activities. For businesses, depending on the type of business, it can mean the beginning or the end of a busy season and – with the return of extra-curricular activities like sports and band – increasingly hectic schedules for both employers and employees. 

With all of this in mind, it’s important to remember to be patient with not only our kids, but also our colleagues and co-workers. Let’s cherish the time that we have with our families and make the most of opportunities to interact with our kids in between school and practices and lessons and all of the other things that go on during this busy season. There are also opportunities for some businesses to get creative with their customer base, like a back to school parent “pick-me-up” discount at coffee shops or “school night meal deals” for restaurants. There are lots of ways for your family and business to hit the ground running this school year!

Odom Springs

Local Wineries & Distilleries

For those who enjoy the occasional drink, the kind that’s a bit stronger than good ole’ sweet tea, there are a number of fantastic wineries and distilleries in the Blairsville-Union County area. Establishments like these are uniquely suited to thrive here, as our area was recently named an American Viticultural Area (AVA) – a distinction carried by regions like Napa Valley and Sonoma. Most of the vineyards frequently host fun events and live music, so there’s plenty to do while you visit. From whiskey with deep roots in the area’s history to luxury vineyards & resorts with European flare, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes. Here are a few of the vineyards and distilleries close by:

Granddaddy Mimms Moonshine Distillery
GranddaddyMimms

 

 

 

Odom Springs Vineyards
Odom Springs Vineyard_small

 

 

 

 

Paradise Hills
PHW_no date

 

 

 

 

 

Hightower Creek
Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 1.48.06 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Crane Creek
Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 1.48.24 PM


 

 

 

Learn more about the wineries & distilleries in Blairsville-Union County here.

ButternutCreekFest-Hopkins

2017 Butternut Creek Festival

Here in Blairsville, celebrating local and regional artists and craftsmen is  a big deal. Around this time each year, you can find over 65 of these artisans showcasing their work at the Butternut Creek Festival. The two day festival, held at Meeks Park, features works in a variety of categories, including basketry, fine art, fabric art, decorative painting, glass, jewelry, metal working, photography, pottery, scrimshaw, and woodturning.

While the Butternut Creek Festival is an excellent opportunity for these incredibly talented artisans to share and sell their works to the public, it’s also a fun and inviting event with something for everyone to enjoy. The festival also features fantastic musical entertainment, lots of great food available for purchase, and live art demonstrations. There are also a number of local nonprofits exhibiting that you can learn more about at the event.

The festival, which has been designated a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event since 2009, takes place on July 15 & 16 from 10 am to 5 pm at Meeks Park. Admission and parking are free and shuttles are available to get you from parking to the festival. Learn more at www.visitblairsvillega.com/fun-things-to-do-in-blairsville-ga/festivals/.

twitter iphone

Preparing for Social Media Lift-Off, Part 1

You are just a few days away from opening your business, and the punch list seems to grow. It’s late at night, and you can’t sleep. You rise, grab a hot cup of tea, and open up your laptop. It just dawned on you that you need a Facebook page for your business.

Though it is never too late to take such action, you can certainly take steps to avoid this situation.

Let’s rewind the scenario.

The calendar indicates that your scheduled launch date is in three months. Your business plans are just starting to take shape. It’s 6am on Saturday morning, you’ve risen early and the kids are still in bed. The hour is peaceful and quiet, except in your head. The clattering of ideas for preparing for your business adventure is making such a racket. You decide to open your laptop and prepare to begin executing your marketing plan by taking the first bite of the social media elephant.

This morning you are going to focus on which platforms of social media you are going to use to market your business and create your brand. Let’s start by looking at local businesses and seeing where they are having the most success.

The little country store out near the state park has nearly 7500 followers on Facebook. How is that possible? They post something nearly every day, not necessarily about their business, but by their business. They typically post three videos a month, and they average 1500 views each.

Impressive.

You are not opening a country store, but you are launching a service business, one with several competitors in the tri state area. You now search them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. You look for the following:

  • How many followers do they have?
  • What are they posting about?
  • Are their posts mostly internal (company-based) news, blog posts and articles; mostly external news, blog posts and articles; or a mix of both?
  • What’s their brand voice?
  • How often do they post?
  • How many likes/comments/shares do they get per post?
  • Do they run any polls, contests or fun games with their brand?

Today you’ve done your research, and you can now decide which social media platforms you want to set up on before your launch in 3 months.

Saturday morning, one month later.

Now it’s time to design your guidelines for your social media do’s and don’ts. As you grow, you won’t have time to be the only one posting for your business. This is the time to iron out what your plan is and how it is to be executed, so you are prepared to hand it off when the time comes. Your social media helper will be able to follow the method to secure your branding in the ways that you have intended.

Begin designing your guidelines by asking these questions.

  • Does your brand refer to itself as “we” or “I”?
  • Are any words off-limits?
  • Does your brand have a political leaning? How comfortable is your company with offending followers of a different political leaning?
  • Will you respond to comments and how often? We can’t impress on you enough how important this decision is when you begin the social media marketing journey. How do you respond to reviews, even negative ones? What tone will you use to address negative comments? (There will be haters. It’s a public forum after all.) Are you apologetic, is your policy to address or ignore? Just as importantly, how quickly will you pledge to respond to positive remarks and reviews?
  • If your social media account were a person, what would he or she do for fun? How would he or she talk? What wisdom do they want to impart? Do they have a pet or another animate object that can be the business mascot?

Here at Blairsville-Union County Chamber of commerce, we analyze our social media impact every single day. We look forward to sharing your business with our followers. Stay tuned for Part #2 of our preparation list. Are you getting excited about making your dream come true?

BACK

old-wooden-signboard-913-1170

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

A few months ago, as you were on your way into town, you noticed that your neighbors had two pickup trucks in their driveway with three workmen entering the house with boxes. You didn’t slow down to read the logo on the side of the trucks, lest they think you a nosey neighbor. By the time you came home that night, the trucks were gone. What you did notice that evening was a yard sign indicating that “A Walk on the Woods” was proud to announce they were installing new wood flooring in your neighbor’s home.

A couple evenings later, while walking Goliath, your 150 lb. mastiff (he being the main reason you even have to consider pulling up the carpeting and putting down wood floors), you happen upon your neighbors. He’s pruning his bushes, while his pregnant wife is sitting in the shade, supervising. You remark that you couldn’t help noticing the sign in their yard, and you wondered if they would recommend this business, and more importantly, would they use them again. The neighbor chuckles and tells you you’re the 5th neighbor who has stopped to ask him this same question. He indicated they were going to ask the flooring manager for a commission.

And why shouldn’t they get one? Their yard has been used to house a billboard for the flooring company’s business. That billboard, all 24×36 inches of it, cost the flooring company $25. Installation of the sign took 30 seconds. Seven days later, as they had promised to do when their client agreed they could post the sign, they came back and removed the sign. When they came to pick up the sign, no one answered their knock on the door. They left a “thank you” card and a bottle of wood floor cleaning liquid. The bottle of cleaner had a sticker on the back with the flooring company’s logo, their contact information and a quote that expresses how much they appreciate referrals.

About a month later, you are in the parking lot of your favorite fast food joint. You realize that the truck parked next to you has the “A Walk on the Woods” logo, along with their phone number. There’s also a little camera icon, and the words “shoot me with your cell phone, and call us when you need us”.

“Wow,” you think. “This is much easier than writing their number with my finger in the dirt on the trunk of my car.”

“A Walk on the Woods” has invested in their marketing wisely. First, they came up with a creative name that most people will not only remember, but will likely share the clever moniker with others.  Secondly, they invested $25 in a yard sign for each of their installers to carry with them, installing them on the customer’s lawn. They secured permission to do this in writing at the time the customer signs the agreement to purchase.  Then, they not only make sure that they are there to pick up the sign at the end of the seventh day, but they add a token of their appreciation, which of course, also has a sign on it. They’ve also invested wisely in moving billboards, having vehicles with their logo and contact info, and even ensuring that potential clients will take that information home with them via their cell phones.

Yesterday, you drove by that same neighbor’s house. This time there were pink balloons on the mailbox, signifying that there was a baby girl born to the lovely young couple. Standing in the yard was a large wooden cut out of a stork. Hanging from its beak was a basket of pink silk flowers. At his feet was a yard sign that read, “Amy’s Flower Pot just delivered this baby girl a welcoming bouquet”.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

Looking for more great ideas to grow your business? Check out our schedule of workshops on our website at  http://www.visitblairsvillega.com/blairsville-union-county-chamber/chamber-programs/

Back