Blog entry

Pickers...Rosin Up Your Bows!

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Let's just start praying to the weather gods now...because nothing beats a beautiful spring weekend in Dahlonega with bluegrass musicians pickin' and grinnin' all over the square! Bear on the Square 2019 is NEAR; April 27th and 28th to be exact.

There's talent all over the square, and there's talent filling the main performance tent adjacent to Cranberry Corners, too! Make it a point to get there early Sunday so you can have a listen to the Gospel Jam...Kranberry Kathy's favorite part of the festival weekend! 

We're Loaded for BEAR!

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When you think Bear on the Square you also think 'It's the most wonderful time of the year.' Truth be told that's pretty much Dahlonega all year round but heck...we're kinda biased. If you've never attended (what's wrong with you!), this video really catches the essence of the festival:

For a complete schedule of events, click here!

Get Ready For Bear On The Square 2017

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Seems like last year's festival was last month - hard to believe Dahlonega's favorite spring festival returns for it's 21st year next month.  There is a charity auction on the evening of April 21st, then two days of music and art on the 22nd and 23rd. 

The Bear on the Square Festival, held in and around Dahlonega's Historic Public Square, is an authentic Appalachian Festival featuring bluegrass and old-time music, a juried Artists Market Place featuring traditional mountain crafts, storytelling, free music workshops and demonstrations, dance team performances, an old-time mountain dance, an open mic event, and more.

Here's Kranberry Kathy and daughter at last year's celebration...

And the main stage...

And some of our favorite locals enjoying the music!

Weather permitting, you'll find pockets of professional musicians and amateurs jamming around the square.  Expect spontaneous eruptions of clogging, or buckdancing!  If it does happen to rain, musicians are invited to jam inside the shops around the square.  You can expect Cranberry Corners to open their doors to anyone wishing to play!  This really is an amazing, family friendly event.  You will not regret attending!

Spring Means It's Bear on the Square Bluegrass Festival Time...

April 26th and 27th found the return of Kranberry's favorite Dahlonega festival...Bear on the Square! It was the 20th anniversary of the event - which is held to commemorate the time a baby bear became stuck high up in a tree in front of potter Brad Walker's shop.  The Friday evening through Sunday event celebrates all things bluegrass - with musicians huddled up in groups around the square and performing within the main tent.  There's also a mighty fine selection of regional, handcrafted items.  No imported merchandise at this show! 

The silent auction on Friday night is always a hoot, and Ugly Cousin did not disappoint as the musical entertainment!  In most people's opinion Sunday morning's gospel jam is the highlight of the festival.  Note if you're planning on attending next year's event and want to attend the gospel jam...get there early and save yourself a seat!  The tent fills up mighty quickly!  Speaking of 2017's Bear on the Square festival, it will be held on April 22 and 23rd.  Stop by and say hi if you attend!  And new to the Dahlonega cultural scene?

Formerly known as the Wildflower Festival of the Arts, meet the newly christened Dahlonega Arts and Wine Festival!  Presented by Chestatee Artists Inc., and to be held each year on the 3rd weekend in May, this year's event falls on May 21st and 22nd, 2016.  Come, enjoy high quality Arts & Crafts, tastings of fine local and regional wines, and live jazz.  Sounds like it's gonna be a fun weekend.  Cheers, y'all!

2015 Bear on the Square Festival Recap!

First off, everyone always asks the story of how Dahlonega's Bear on the Square Festival first started.  This year was the festival's 19th year.  Since this is Cranberry Corners' 20th year in the gift shop business, Kranberry Kathy was there to witness the invasion of the bears and the origin of this fantastic bluegrass festival...

You see, they were building the Wal-Mart, and the clearing of the land left 2 bears homeless, and...

...either smelling the food cooking on the square or needing to purchase a few gifts - both cubs ran toward the square!  Once arriving, they climbed a tree to scope out where to start shopping.  This alarmed the people of the town, so professionals were called in to tranquilize the pair.  People stood at the base of the tree with huge tarps, and as each fell asleep, they were caught by the folks below.  Tagged, then released - both bears were last tracked in North Carolina.  So what do 2 bears on the square have to do with starting a bluegrass festival?  Nothing!  It's just that the people of Dahlonega love music and a good excuse to throw a party.  Hence, the birth of the annual Bear on the Square festival!

Each festival starts with the Friday night charity auction.  Check out Kranberry Kathy and daughter Shelley doing their best Vanna White impersonation while displaying a Billy Roper painting...

Proceeds from the auction (and festival) benefit the Dahlonega Pick 'n Bow program, and the $5 dinner catered by Shenanigans before the auction is always a delicious place to catch up with friends. 

Saturday's forecast called for sun and Sunday's called for the crowds were out in force for the first day of the festival.  That's why this guy, Farmer Jim from The Buzzard Mountain Boys, kept takin' a load off at Cranberry Corners...

Here's a buckdancer from the John C. Campbell Fok School struttin' her stuff on Saturday...

...and an impromptu jam on the square!


Kranberry Kathy...doing her best impression of a face jug.  Close, but no cigar!

Catching up with Cranberry Corners jewelry and accessory designer, Lee Johnson.  She had a booth on the square...

Day 2 of the festival called for rain, but that did not hamper the spirit or attendance at Sunday morning's gospel hour!  Glenda Pender emceed, and a house band accompanied professional and amateur performers who each did 1 song.  This year Kranberry's daughter, accompanied by Jason Kenney, surprised her mom with an impromptu attempt at Miss Loretta Lynn's 'God Makes No Mistakes'...

The rain really started to pour after the Gospel hour, and unfortunately most of the artist market and food court was forced to pack up and go home.  However, the square's pickers and grinners retreated indoors - and the big tent continued to jam right on throgh the festival finale...a set by local favorite Jason Kenney...

Despite the rain, the festival was deemed a success.  Cheers to the next year's Bear on the Square Festival, which will be April 16th and 17th, 2016.  The event's 20th ANNIVERSARY!  See you there!


Hey Dahlonega - Ready for Spring Festivals Season?

This past weekend, our historic town square and the Yahoola Trails Conservancy hosted the 2015 Appalachian Trailfest - and yes!  The weather held out.  This annual event celebrates the beginning of spring, the designation of Dahlonega as an AT Trail community, and our connection with the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail...   

The photo above shows what a wonderful day it was to kick off spring.  See the shadows?  They mean the sun's out!  In addition to arts and crafts, this year's event featured a silent auction, lots of live music and a food, beer and wine garden...

Dahlonega's 2014 Bear on the Square Festival...a big success!

Many locals will tell you, Dahlonega's Bear on the Square festival is one of their favorite festivals of the year.  Held this past April 26th and 27th, click here to see a few of our favorite memories from the 2 day event.  The weather was perfect, the music was wonderful!


North Georgia Folk Artist Billy Roper...

We recently spotted this painting while scrolling through facebook, and just had to share it.   A beautiful, bright angel painted by our friend North Georgia Artist Billy Roper.  From the biography on his website...
..."In describing himself, Appalachian folk artist Billy Roper says, 'I was born blessedly poor. We lived back in the hills where life was 50 years behind times. We didn't have much growing up, but what we had was more –– an honest, hardworking family.'
It's those years of weathering hardships throughout his life that have made him the artist he is today and that is reflected in his work. Art has always been a part of his life with his skills ranging from painting and drawing to sculpting marble and carving wood. Roper recalls, "There isn't a time I can remember when I didn't want to mark on something. I was the worst write-on-the-walls young'un that ever lived."
His work has emotional depth and speaks to people about the simple things in life –– the things that matter the most. The native of north Georgia is most known for his expressive style of painting that combines colorful imagery on the front with handwriting on the back to tell a story or depict an emotion. 


Billy Roper is simply Billy. He remembers his Appalachian roots, his Cherokee ancestors and their culture. Of them he says, "I was taught who I was and where I came from for countless generations. That does not make me better than or worse than, but it does make me – me."


Music has always been a strong part of Billy's life and that passion is shown in the nine months he spent painting a bass fiddle that was raffled off in April 2011 at the Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega, Ga. The project raised money to benefit the Georgia Pick & Bow Music School, an instructional music program that helps to ensure that Appalachian music is passed down to the next generation. 


His work can be found in art collections throughout the United States and more than 30 countries. He was North Georgia College & State University's first artist-in-residence in 2007 and the book, "Billy Roper: Visual Storyteller," was the first work published by the University Press of North Georgia."

Gift suggestions for Spring...

Looking for a seasonal gift?  We can't think of a more perfect gift for Mother's Day and graduation than Kelly Rae Roberts jewelry- handcrafted inspirational necklaces and earrings that will make any special lady in your life smile!  We discovered Kelly Rae at this past Spring's Bear on the Square Festival and have truly enjoyed working with another great handmade artisan.  We've got a great selection of gifts from local artists - stop by Cranberry Corners the next time you're in Dahlonega and pick up your Spring gift.  Don't forget, we giftwrap!   
Want to order a piece of jewelry over the phone or by email?  Call (706) 864-6577.

Dahlonega Dancing Bears available online!


T-shirts proudly sporting a screen printed design drawn by Dahlonega, Georgia resident John Dahlstrom!  Available in sizes small - XXL.  How do you purchase them?  Keep reading! 


To purchase your Dancing Bears Top, click here.  Doesn't Kranberry Kathy look happy, modeling the new design?