Monday, October 31, 2011

2011 Halloween Facts

Today is Halloween, which, next to Christmas, is the most popular holiday in the United States. Here are a few facts you may not know about this costume-wearing, candy gobbling day:
  • The most popular Halloween candy is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
  • 7 of every 10 Americans will celebrate Halloween this year.
  • 43 percent of Americans will dress up for the holiday (up 3% from 2010.)
  • Over 2.6 children and adults will dress as zombies.
  • The most popular adult costume is the witch.
  • The pumpkin is the costume of choice for pets.
  • Halloween expenditures are up over $1 billion from last year.
  • The average person will spend $72.31 on decorations, candy, costumes.
  • Halloween has been celebrated for over 2,000 years.
And here's one of our favorite facts, decades ago people made their Halloween costumes instead of buying them at Party City, Target or Walmart.

Information for these facts found in National Geographic article on Halloween 2011.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thousands of Trick or Treaters Expected

Imagine buying enough candy to handout to thousands of mini ghosts, goblins, pirates and princesses. That's the feat facing the merchants in Dahlonega, Ga., when the city hosts its annual Trick or Treat on the Square event, on Halloween from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

In 2010, according to reports, approximately 4,000 children (and parents) filled the town's square, lining up to go store-to-store, block-by-block for lollipops, chocolate bars, candy corn and other sugary sweets. This year should be no different.

Along with merchants, other Dahlonega civic organizations will be on the Square to dispense candy too. In fact, D&B is scheduled to be one of the hander-outers with the Business Leads Group for the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce. Can't wait to see all the costumes!
P.S. Roads through the square will be closed and traffic re-routed for the event.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Revooners raid Dawsonville moonshine still

Photo from Dawson Advertiser
Yep. The 'Revooners' (aka ATF) conducted a daring daylight raid on the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery Friday, hoping to find moonshine in production. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had gotten a tip that moonshine was not only being brewed at the Distillery but also the dreaded white lightening was being sold on the premises.

AFT agents spent four hours at the Distillery, (which just so happens to be located next to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame), and left after they couldn't find any moonshine. They did find a still, which the owner of the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery had unloaded the day before in anticipation of the 44th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival. The festival honors Dawsonville's legendary bootlegging, moonshining heritage.

"I thought I was going to jail," said Calvin Byrd, one of the organizers of the festival, as he described the AFT's raid.

While no moonshine was being produced when the AFT agents swarmed the place, that doesn't mean that the Distillery isn't going to LEGALLY make moonshine some day. In fact, plans call for the 6,5000 sq. ft. space located in the Dawsonville City Hall to one day produce moonshine which will ultimately be sold to a distributor for eventual sale to consumers. No moonshine will be sold on the Distillery's premises.

Operations permits are still pending. Expected to open by the end of the year, the Distillery will produce 'white lightning' based on recipes handed down from one generation of moonshiners to another. For more details, check out this AJC article.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Save a Hemlock tree.

A healthy hemlock tree 

Growing as tall as 100 feet, the magnificent hemlock trees found throughout the Applachian mountains are in danger of becoming extinct. All because of a little Asian insect called the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid or HWA, a tree killer that has no local natural predator.

The hemlocks, vital to our ecosystem,  grow in mountainous areas where other trees don't and prevent land erosion, provide shade, and offer protection for wildlife. According to tree experts, within the next 15 years, if the deadly HWA isn't stopped, Georgia could lose its magnificent hemlocks.

The Hemlock Wooly Adel
You can help the hemlocks and have a fun weekend by attending the annual Hemlock Festival in Dahlonega. 100% of the proceeds go to saving the hemlocks.

At the three day, 2011 festival, you'll hear a variety of music from blue/newgrass and blues to classic oldies, Celtic and folk music. Plus, you can shop at artisan and craft booths, fill up on fudge and other festival goodies, and feel good knowing you're saving a hemlock or two.

The Hemlock Festival starts at 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, running  until 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and closing at 3 p.m. Sunday. The location is off Hwy. 52 outside of Dahlonega at 396 Starbridge Rd.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Harvesting Bear

"We had a bear harvested on Duke's Creek that was 525 pounds," a Gainesville biologist was quoted saying in a recent Dahlonega Nugget news article on the growing bear population in the region.

After reading that, we wondered just what does "harvesting bears" mean? Is 'harvesting' a euphemism for killing? Or does it mean they stun gunned the 525 lb. bear? Or maybe they 'harvested' it for a quiet, boring life in a Georgia zoo.

(Unfortunately, we're pretty sure that the first definition of bear harvesting is correct.)

2011 is sure to be a good year for bear 'harvesting' in North Georgia since this hunting season the limit for hunters is now two kills per season (or make that two 'harvests' per season.)

What this means is if you're a bear hunter, no need to go to some exotic place to 'harvest' a black bear. Just come to North Georgia where the bear population mushroomed from 2,500 18 months ago to about 4,000 now.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the bear boom is a good sign, since over-hunting had nearly decimated the state's bear population. Bear harvesting is popular even in California, where according to statistics, 1,503 bears were harvested in 2010.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Best Social Club in Dahlonega

Okay. To be fair to the Lions Club, D&B hasn't been to a Dahlonega Lions Club meeting yet, so this is sort of a prejudiced Best OF Dahlonega & Beyond selection of Best Club. (Last  month, the Lions Club tied with the Dahlonega Women's Club in local voting for Best Club for 2011.)

But after just one visit to the Dahlonega Women's Club, D&B has to say, "Wow. The Lions Club must be amazing to have tied with the Women's Club."

Our guest visit at the Women's Club started with a mini chili cookoff to determine which chili recipe would represent the club at the town's upcoming chili cookoff. Then for the next hour, one group chairman after another told of the amazing work the club is doing - Meals on Wheels, senior citizen center visits, time and funds donated to the library, participation in the Lumpkin Literacy Coalition's Spelling Bee, trash pickup along the highway, a fund for purchase flower seeds for highway medians, volunteering for charity events, and the list goes on and on.

Does that club stay busy! The local joke is that every event the Women's Club participates in involves a meal of some type. We can see why. Those meals provide the members with the fuel they need to take on all the charity work and volunteerism they do.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nugget Is Parade's Grand Marshal

Nugget thinking about her role as Grand Marshal.
And the Dahlonega Gold Rush Days' Parade Grand Marshal is.....Nugget the dog! Announcement of Nugget's selection came in Wednesday's Dahlonega Nugget newspaper.

Nugget, Dahlonega's unofficial town dog, is the first canine parade grand marshal in the 57 year history of the Gold Rush Festival. Nugget will lead the parade through downtown Dahlonega Saturday, Oct. 15, riding along with her adopted parents Michelle and Craig Codrington.

"We like the grand marshal to not be only an example for Dahlonega but something significant for Dahlonega that year," said Melinda Maxwell, a member of the Dahlonega Jaycees, Gold Rush Days sponsor.

Nugget, who now has her own Facebook page with thousands of followers, definitely is a significant part of Dahlonega. Until adopted by her new family this summer, Nugget made the streets of Dahlonega and the Golden Pantry parking lot her home for years. Her story made national news as Dahlonega and beyond embraced Nugget as 'their dog.

The Gold Rush Days' Parade starts at 3 p.m. Get there early. You don't want to miss Grand Marshal Nugget!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gold Rush in Dahlonega

At the height of the gold rush in North Georgia, historians say that as many as 15,000 miners came to the Dahlonega area searching for gold. That 15,000 is nothing compared to the 200,000 or so folks coming to Dahlonega this weekend, Oct. 15-16, for the 2011 Gold Rush.

Voted one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast, the Dahlonega Gold Rush Days are part county fair, part arts and craft show, and part food festival. The streets of Dahlonega (while not paved with gold) will be filled with booths - approximately 300 in fact - and clogged with crowds as adults, teens and children shop, eat, and have darn good time.

On the agenda for the two day event are a parade, fashion show, gospel music and contests for gold panning, hog calling, and buck dancing (not sure what that is) plus much much more. And, of course, you can feast on fried Twinkies and fried Snickers, turkey legs, corn on the cob, and homemade lemonade while you stroll from one artisans' booth to another. (Want to see what it's really like - watch this YouTube video.)

But be warned. Traffic is terrible. Come early and, of course, stay late.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Most Expensive Water in the U.S.

As the water flows in Lumpkin, so does the $$$$.
The day that we moved into our Dahlonega and Beyond home, a neighbor greeted us with the typical, "Welcome to the neighborhood" salutation. Then, what he said next was jaw-dropping - "Thought you might want to know that Lumpkin County has the most expensive water in the U.S." 

Not exactly something we wanted to hear and certainly something our real estate agent forgot to mention. 

To be honest, those of us served by the Lumpkin County Water & Sewer Authority don't exactly have the highest water bills in the country, but our water costs must be on the top 10 or 20 Most Expensive List.

Right now, the county and city of Dahlonega are haggling over water fees. The county water authority buys water from the city and the city fathers say, "The rates are going up." Who knows? Perhaps, one day soon, we can rightly say, "Lumpkin has the most expensive water in the U.S."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Leaf Looking with Your Pup

Nessie thinking about doing some 'leaf looking'
In the coming weeks, hundreds of thousands of people, from all over the United States, will travel to the breathtaking Appalachian mountains in North Georgia to leaf look.

Some of those lookers will bring along their pups...not just to view the gorgeous reds and yellows of the Georgian leaves, but also to take walks in local parks or downtowns. If you're making a leaf look with your pet, may we suggest you bring along:
  1. Folding Dog Travel Bowl - This folding container surprisingly holds lots of water. It's a must have when D&B's dog Nessie travels. 
  2. KoolCollar - Sunny fall days can mean temperatures in the high 70's or low 80's. This 'cool' collar will keep your dog comfortable.
  3. Dog Calming CD - Dog jumping on seats or misbehaving? Play classical, dog-tested music that calms the inner beast of your pup.
  4. Bags on Board Bone Dispenser  - This poop bag holder makes picking up after your dog oh so much easier. People using the same paths and sidewalks your pup uses will be most appreciative is you bag up.
  5. Motion Sickness Drops - Go more than 10 miles and D&B's pup throws up. So traveling on mountainous Ga. roads means she gets motion sickness meds. This is a homeopathic version that might help your pup.   
If you do plan to do some leaf peeping, Lumpkin, Dawson, Pickens, and White counties have some fabulous mountain views!

Dahlonega Chamber - We Love Ya!

One of the first steps we took when moving to Dahlonega and Beyond was to join the Dahlonega- Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce. To be honest, we weren't expecting much. Boy, were we in for a surprise!

The DLCCC is extremely well organized and run by an experienced staff, people who know how to get the job done (and done well.) Just last weekend the Chamber hosted the biggest cycling event in the Southeast - over 2400 cyclists converged on the city for the 23rd Annual Six Gap Century and Three Gap Fifty Rides. 

One of our favorite events is the Chamber's monthly Business After Hours where we hob-nob with the mayor, city council members, state legislatures and county commissioners, and meet other Lumpkin area business owners. And of course, we eat. It seems that the host of the month tries to out do the previous hosts when it comes to food. (This month's menu included mini-crab cakes and gourmet cheeses.)

When we lived in metro Atlanta, we worked with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Metro Atlanta Chamber as well. Now that we're a part of the Dahlonega-Lumpkin Chamber, we're not so impressed with those big Atlanta area chambers any more. Dahlonega Chamber - We love ya!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hunger on Sesame Street and Dahlonega and Beyond

Meet Lily - Newest Muppet
Meet Lily. She's the newest muppet, who appeared for the first time Sunday on an hour long Sesame Street  that focused on hunger in America.

Lily, a cute little red headed muppet, is food insecure, which means she has limited or uncertain availability to meet basic food needs due to a lack of financial resources. According to Sesame Street statistics, 15 percent of U.S. households in 2009 were identified as being food insecure.

In Dahlonega and Beyond, unfortunately, the description food insecure  fits way too many children. A 2010 U.S. Department of Education report notes that 55% of Lumpkin County Middle School students and 50% of the Dawson County Middle School students qualify for free or reduced lunches. (A figure that's up 8 percent in Lumpkin and 11 percent in Dawson in one year.)

Children shouldn't go hungry. Remember that when someone asks you to donate to a food drive or help with a Feed the Hungry program.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Best Of Dahlonega & Beyond - Our Take 2

In the spirit of Dahlonega's Nugget's 2011 BEST OF contest, Dahlonega and Beyond has a few more of our own Best OF recommendations.
  • Best Dog - Hands down Nugget wins Best Dog award. Not only did she live for years at the Golden Pantry, but she's captured the hearts of thousands throughout Lumpkin and the world over. Nugget even has her own Facebook page.
  • Best Museum - Since this is Dahlonega and Beyond, our vote for best area museum is the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville. The exhibits there trace NASCAR from its moonshine running days to Dawsonville's Bill Elliott's racing career and beyond.
  • Best Ga. NASCAR Eating Experience - The Dawsonville Pool Room is a must-eat-at spot. Filled with Georgia racing memorial, the restaurant/diner serves a great Bully Burger and has daily Meat and Two specials.
  • Best Hotel - While we were house hunting, we stayed several times at The Park Place Hotel  in downtown Dahlonega. Each suite is unique, you get a bottle of wine when you check in, and it has a patio on the square that's a fun place for people watching. 
  • Best Local Park - The Yahoola Creek Park in Dahlonega is a perfect spot for picnics, for the children to play in the creek, and for short hikes or walks.
  • Best Spelling Bee - That's the Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition's annual adult spelling bee. Lots of laughs as adults try spelling such words as ailurophile, equinoctial and horripilation.
We'll be posting more Best Of awards. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Now Casting - "Big Foot - The Movie"

Want to be in a Bigfoot movie? Here's your chance.

A local area film company is making a movie based on the legend that Bigfoot lives in Dahlonega...or at least in the forests in the Dahlonega and Beyond area. (In recent years, credible sources - from Army Rangers to a Lumpkin County Sheriff's Deputy - have reported seeing Bigfoot-like creatures running or foraging in the woods.)

The film company will be casting roles soon. (Wonder who will play Bigfoot?) Watch here for more details. The story of the Dahlonega Bigfoot could be coming to a theater near year....or maybe your DVD player.