The city of Chatsworth has a community spirit and drive that brings thousands into Murray County every year. From the Historic Red and Gold Leaf Festival to the modern-day Black Bear Festival, it’s a town that has always relished in the fall season and the celebrations that come with the gathering of the harvest and the end of the summer heat.
The seventh annual Black Bear Festival will be held next weekend on October 19 and 20, and it’s the drive of the Murray communities that has positioned it to be the most diverse and colorful event the town has hosted.
The festival will start with an opening ceremony of the Georgia Law Enforcement Moving Memorial as it makes its first stop in the North Georgia area. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and the memorial will be open to the public throughout the festival.
Throughout the weekend, over seventy vendors will line city streets and congregate in Chatsworth City Park. This year promises more unique and authentic displays than ever before, including chainsaw carver, working chuck wagon, carriage rides, hand crafted wood furniture and stained glass pieces, multiple artistic demonstrations from the Go Murray Arts center, and tours of the Historic Wright Hotel and Chatsworth Depot and a unique look inside the Section House located inside the park.
Events on tap for Saturday include the Black Bear Classic 5k and Fun Mile hosted by First National Community Bank at 1 p.m.. According to race organizers, this is an excellent course for runners looking to set a new personal best record.
The Black Bear Classic Car, Truck, Motorcycle, and tractor show will also be Saturday, and organizer Randy Knight has worked to recruit the widest variety of vehicles that the show has ever hosted.
“We’re going to have a wide range of vehicles,” said Knight. “It doesn’t matter what their interest is; it looks like we’re going to have that vehicle.”
Car show organizers are expecting everything from antique cars and reproductions to rat-rods and street-rods, customized motorcycles, choppers, and tractors.
Tractors are a new addition to the Black Bear Classic. “Murray County is still a predominantly agricultural county,” said Knight. “There’re a lot of folks like myself that remember the old tractors and would really enjoy seeing them. I think it would bring a wider audience to the car show.”
In addition to a full day of events including the race, car show, pumpkin decorating contest, and trick-or-treating, Saturday will also feature a variety of entertainment and musical performance.
Mentalist and Magician Charles Wright will astound the audience as he emcee’s the event. Musical artists such as American Idol finalist Ayala Brown and US 101 Backroads Artist Wade Trammell will take the main stage, and wrestlers will perform throughout the day.
“Entertainment at the Black bear festival is geared towards families and people of any age,” said Stephen Yuzenko, Entertainment Recruiter for the Black Bear Festival. “While it usually has a stronger country and rock theme, the music and varied entertainment appeals to the whole family.”
Not only will the audience enjoy the Saturday line-up, but the performers will take away something from the Festival as well.
“Past performers came to Chatsworth and loved the friendly & welcoming community,” Yuzenko said. “Each year I hear from past performers who have experienced great successes from performing at the Black Bear Festival, such as signing with a major record label, to being selected to perform with major international stars, and even selling songs played at the festival for nationally broadcasted T.V. shows”
Sunday’s musical lineup will feature local gospel groups The Sluder Trio, The Wilsons, Janice Steelmon, and The Kingdom Seeks Quartet while the crafters and demonstrators will continue to be hard at work.
Sunday’s events include a pet costume contest and parade, baking contest, and continued historic downtown tours.
Come out and enjoy the Murray County community at its best. Admission is $1:00 per person. Times are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.