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Big weekend on tap for Marble Festival

Rain or Shine - All events will proceed as scheduled.

Chamber officials confirmed Friday that everything will go as planned, even with expected rain. They encouraged people to come out and support the community event.

 

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It’s been a long time since the early 80s, when Pickens began celebrating its most prized and pervasive geological feature – marble – with a down-home heritage festival.  

Now 35 years later the Georgia Marble Festival is still going strong, and organizers want you to come out for a weekend of arts and crafts, food, music, quarry tours and many other family-friendly activities.   

“I want this opportunity to invite our local residents to come enjoy the Marble Festival,” said festival chair Amberle Godfrey. “You and your family can expect many new and exciting additions to a tried-and-true festival format.”

Not only have all 133 vendor spaces sold out - meaning festival-goers can expect to find a wide array of handmade and handcrafted art, crafts like wooden toys, candles, soaps, river cane flutes as well as festival food favorites like roasted corn, kettle corn and barbeque –a full line-up of entertainment is booked for both the main stage and the small stage.

For the last few years, music at the festival has centered on bluegrass and gospel, but for 2015 organizers opted to include a wider variety of genres. 

On Saturday, the main stage near the water tower will feature Americana/southern band Charles and Paige’s Low Dough Experience at 11:50 a.m., country musician Samantha Stroh and the Southern Machine at 1:25 p.m., The BackSliders at 3:10 p.m. and Local Legends with Spencer Kirkpatrick at 4:30 p.m. 

On Sunday, the Bruce Weeks Family Band will open up the gospel and worship music on the main stage at 10 a.m., followed by The Dirt Road Disciples at 12:15 p.m., Surrender at 2 p.m. and The Elijah Project at 3:45 p.m. 

Performances will be going on all day both days at the second stage near the kids’ area, including a dance party for kids on Saturday from noon to 12:45 and many other local performance groups. 

Godfrey also said marble quarry tours have been a good draw for tourists in 2015.

“We’ve had a lot of out-of-town interest in our quarry tours this year,” Godfrey said of the always-popular activity. “We even had one group of 24 who is taking the tour for educational purposes. These are always a big hit because this is the only time of year they are open to the public.” 

Tours can be booked online at www.georgiamarblefestival.com. Tour tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for kids age 6-12 years. Kids five and under are free. 

You can also drop by the historic Nelson Marble Museum that showcases Pickens’ marble quarry and mining history as well as fine marble pieces. The museum is located inside Nelson City Hall. 

The full weekend of activities begins with the Marble Festival 5K Run/Walk Road Race Saturday morning. The 5K starts at 8 a.m. followed by the 1 mile Run/Walk at 9 a.m.

The festival parade will begin at promptly 10 a.m. on Saturday and will flow from the historic wooden bridge southbound on Main Street in Jasper. This year Appalachian Judicial Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver, named the 2015 Citizen of the Year in January, will serve as Grand Marshall. 

Free shuttles to festival grounds are located at Ingles and Chattahoochee Technical College. Shuttles run 9 a.m. to  5:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. A shuttle will also run from the Old Jail on Main Street to festival grounds on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Bingo will be held on the patio at the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce Saturday only from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

No pets will be allowed on festival grounds this year. 

Admission to the Georgia Marble Festival is: Adults - $5; Children 6 to 12 - $3; Children 5 and under – FREE; Family Weekend Pass $20 (up to 6); Veterans/Seniors - $3.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday.