Festivals flourish in Meeks Park
Called “one of the most beautiful parks in the North Georgia Mountains,” Meeks Park, located one mile west of Blairsville, is home to several festivals throughout the summer and fall.
Tobie Chandler, tourism director of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce, said the reason for the popularity of Meeks Park is because of its natural beauty.
“With pathways shaded by trees and grassy knolls nestled between two bubbling creeks - Butternut and Nottely, Meeks Park is a favorite destination for both residents and visitors,” she said. “Festival attendees can retreat from the sun within the wooded walking trails or by the restored waterwheel, while children delight in the two playgrounds available.”
In addition to festivals, the park offers seven ball fields, four batting cages, a playground, a skateboard park, basketball court, tennis courts, swimming pool, walking trails, nature trails, a dog park, a disc golf course, several pavilions and other amenities.
First on the festival schedule at Meeks Park is the 15th annual Blairsville Scottish Festival & Highland Games, to be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m., June 9-10. The festival celebrates “all things Scottish….maybe even you.”
If your history includes Georgia, North and South Carolina and Tennessee, you’ll most likely find you have Scottish ancestry. Forty Scottish clans and societies will be present to share their history, genealogy, warrior and monarch tales, colors and tartans. See how the Scotts lived as the Clann Nan Con offers historical reenactments.
Enjoy the Southeastern Scottish Amateur Athletic Association Heavy Athletics competitions and your wee ones can compete in their own version of children’s Scottish Athletics. If you enjoy running or walking, you can participate in the Gaelic Gallop 5k and 1 Mile Fun Run. Try out a workshop on the harp, fiddle, or bagpipes. The Highland Dancers may even sweep you on stage for a traditional jig.
Parking at the Scottish festival is free; admission costs $10 per day or $15 for the weekend. Children under 12 are free. For more information, visit BlairsvilleScottishFestival.com.
Next on the schedule is the 20th annual Butternut Creek Arts & Crafts Festival, planned for 10 a.m.-5 p.m., July 21-22.
The Butternut Creek Arts & Crafts Festival is held along the banks of Butternut Creek and is Blairsville-Union County’s signature summer arts festival. Presented by High Country Artisans, the two-day festival showcases the work of 65 artists and craftsman in categories from basketry, fine art, fabric art, and decorative painting, to glass, jewelry, metal working, photography, pottery, scrimshaw and woodturning.
Parking and admission is free to the Butternut Creek Arts & Crafts Festival. To learn more about High Country Artisans and the Butternut Creek Festival, visit ButternutCreekFestival.com.
Finally, prepare to usher in cooler fall temperatures with one of the most unique traditions in North Georgia: cooking sorghum syrup.
The 49th annual Sorghum Festival will be held in Blairsville at Meeks Park for two continuous weekends, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Oct. 13-14 and Oct. 20-21.
Live demonstrations on how Sorghum syrup was made years ago is the highlight of the festival, but you can also see how an old still makes white lightening (moonshine). This popular festival will also showcase local arts and crafts, delicious treats and other assorted food vendors, a kids’ area, live music, and of course sorghum syrup.
All weekend festival-goers can enter a biscuit eatin’ contest and sop up as many sorghum drenched biscuits as possible, or you may try your hand at pole climbin’, rock throwin’, Log sawin’ or Horseshoe pitchin’.
Festival admission costs $5 per person. Children under 12 are free. Parking is free. For more information visit BlairsvilleSorghumFestival.com.