Union County, Blairsville, Georgia Holiday-Winter 2018-2019 - Page 29

Union County GA Magazine . Holiday & Winter 2018-19 . www.unioncountymag.com Page 29 Blairsville Sorghum Festival 2018 Blairsville Sorghum Festival celebrated the Appalachian mountain heritage of sorghum making for the 49th year in 2018. The event started small by selling on the square in the middle of town, built and moved into the famed Fort Sorghum in town for many years, then expanded to Meeks Park where the event continues to grow in participation and attendance every year. The four-day event takes place on the 2nd & 3rd weekends in October. The event draws not only festival attendees, it also draws a crowd from those coming to the mountains when the hills come alive with a splendid array of colored leaves painting a canvas across the horizon. A building for making sorghum syrup is the center attraction. The cooker is fueled by fire as it was many years ago. Fresh sorghum syrup is made by those who plant, grow, cut, strip and process their own cane. Visitors can see, smell, taste and buy the syrup being made at the festival. An electric grinder is used to crush the cane. An old grinder is set up behind the cooking building with a mule for demonstrating how it was done in the old days. Vendors sell an assortment of items including arts, crafts, homemade items, wood carvings, knives and food of every variety. Demonstrations include muzzle loader shooting, petting zoo, hatchet throwing, puppet show, cutting logs as they did in the Revolutionary War period and more. Attendees can participate in contests. Pole climbing consist of going up a pole twenty feet tall. A two- person team uses a two-man crosscut Vendors, crafts, art, activities and more at the festival Sorghum Cooking Shelter, T-Shirt Booth, Concession Stand By Norm Cooper Editor, Union County GA Magazine saw in the log sawing contest. The rock throwing uses rocks for men, another for women. There is a horseshoe pitching contest. The biskit eating contests requires participants to drag bread through sorghum syrup. The winners of each event receive a plaque while those placing second and third are awarded ribbons. Music is a cherished tradition with the old music stage from the original Fort Sorghum now at Meeks Park. The Sorghum Parade is held the first Saturday of the festival with floats, walkers, cars, tractors and other entries. Hundreds line the parade route and children enjoy gathering up candy tossed by parade participants. Both weekends a Square Dance is held on Saturday night. Those who come hungry are rewarded with a large variety of food choices. The Sorghum Festival Club offers event t-shirts and a concession stand. Scores of vendors showcase and sell their arts and crafts and a variety of hand created items. A lot of information can be found online at the festival’s website www.blairsvillesorghumfestival.com. Music and entertainment on the stage Many exhibits at the event Canned goods Hand carved items made of wood Photos of the Blairsville Sorghum Festival 2018 Large variety of food at the festival photos/Norm C Coordinating the games High school marching band in parade The theme of the 2018 Sorghum Parade honored Military Heroes. This was the 1st Place float. Makin’ Sorghum Syrup at the Blairsville, GA Sorghum Festival 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 7 9 10 11 12 1. Cane seed planted in the Spring and grow to over eight feet tall. 2. Cane stalks are cut and stripped by hand in the fall. 3. Cane is feed into a grinder where the juice is squeezed. 4. The cane left over is discarded. 5. Juice travels from grinder to a cloth where it is filtered. 6. Juice released from holder and into the pan. 7. Real wood creating a fire over 1,300 degrees cooks the juice. 8. As the juice boils, it works its way down the pan. 9. As it boils, green stuff rises to the top is skimmed off and discarded. 10. The golden sorghum syrup is still boiling as it exits the pan. 11. After a final filtering process, jars are filled by hand, one at a time. 12. After the jars are filled and sealed, they are allowed to cool. Union County Community Center Tour of Trees December 1st to 31st Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce & Welcome Center Butternut Creek Golf Course’s Tourism & Pro Shop Union County Development Authority offices Conference room and meeting rooms The View Restaurant and Grill Available Banquets Meetings Conferences Weddings Reunions Receptions 706-439-6092 129 Recreation Rd. Blairsville, Georgia 30512 Email: ucevents@uniongov.com Latest technology internet access audio-visual systems