Get Out file photo
Gold Rush Days, now in its 53rd year in Dahlonega, offers more than 300 vendors selling their wares.
If you go
What: Gold Rush Days
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 21-22
Where: Downtown Dahlonega Square
Cost: Free admission
Contact: www.dahlonegajaycees.com; Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce, (706) 864-3711
10 a.m.: Children's treasure hunt/gospel singing begins
10: Fashion show
11: Wheelbarrow race
Noon: King and Queen coronation
1 p.m.: Hog calling contest
1:15: Liar's contest
1:30: Beard contest
2: Gold Rush parade through the square
3: Cross-cut saw contest
4: Buck dance contest
4: Gold panning contest
Noon: Gospel singing begins
12:45 p.m.: Pipe smoking contest
1: Balloon throwing contest
2: Clogging contest
3:15: Wrist wrestling
4: Gold panning
Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega is a time for Northeast Georgians to celebrate the first American gold rush in 1828.
Now in its 53rd year the fall festival boasts more than 300 art, craft and food vendors along with old-fashioned contests.
"Sunday's clogging and wrist wrestling are always a crowd pleaser," said Jim Ligon, Dahlonega Jaycees chairman and Gold Rush parade chairman.
"The parade is at 2 p.m. Saturday and is usually a huge event with politicians, beauty queens and the grand marshal," Ligon said. "The grand marshal is William Martin, who is a lifetime resident of Dahlonega and he has done countless things for our chapter over the years."
A King and Queen of Gold Rush also will be named.
The Dahlonega Jaycees promote Gold Rush Days, every third weekend in October.
All proceeds from the festival go back to the community throughout the year.
"Last year we sponsored a White Christmas and helped 14 families," Ligon said. "We provide acts of goodwill throughout the year."
Other activities will be children's games, hog calling, a buck dancing contest and gospel music.
For all entertainment events, a stage will be set up in front of the Dahlonega Welcome Center.
"We'll have about 330 vendors and an estimated 200,000 people for the weekend," Ligon said.
"Hancock Park also will be used this year and is just off the square."
Brad Walker has been selling his pottery goods at the festival for more than 30 years.
"I have a shop on the square and I'll have a booth," Walker said.
"I will have functional pottery and poem pots, which is pottery with my poems on them.
"I enjoy it (Gold Rush Days) very much and it almost had a carnival-type atmosphere."
With a mass of visitors from the area and beyond, Dahlonega is forced to shut down roads around downtown.
"The streets will close at 8 a.m. both mornings and reopen at 5 p.m.," said Mary Ann Knight, Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce operations manager.
Parking also will be an issue in downtown Dahlonega, but there are several parking areas.
"There are two city parking lots on the north end and two on the south end," Knight said.
North Georgia College & State University along with the Boys Scouts will have parking for a fee throughout Dahlonega.
For those still needing a route through Dahlonega during the festival, the Morrison Moore Parkway bypass will be open.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, (770) 718-3414
Originally published Thursday, October 19, 2006