The Legend Of Bear On The Square

The Legend Of Bear On The Square

Ever wonder how Bear on the Square got its name?
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In Dahlonega, there are two festivals which dominate the social calendar. One is a reason to move away from Dahlonega, the other is a reason to live there forever. The first one is Gold Rush — an event to be avoided at all costs. No amount of fool's gold in the world can compensate for the swarms of yellow jackets, tourists and traffic that infest the city during this time. The other is Bear on the Square, which is from April 22 to 23.

This festival arrives with the spring blooms and warm weather. Leafy oaks sprawl like parasols over the town square, shading the vendors in their white tents below. It is a bouquet of barking dogs, hand-holding couples and children sporting freshly painted works of art on their cheek. The food trucks offer rare delicacies like corn dogs, homemade soda, cotton candy and fried Oreo's.

The best part about Bear on the Square however is the music. Street performers dominate the town square, each playing Appalachian and Blue grass classics. Every street has a musical group, but their chords never overlap or clash with the performers on other streets.

Interestingly, most people do not know how Bear on the Square came into existence. The tale is both local lore and historical fact, typical of Dahlonega oral tradition.

From the forest, a baby black bear ambled into a Dahlonega sycamore tree. This was not the first time that a bear had entered the town, but the citizens of Dahlonega were none-the-less thrilled. It soon became clear, however, that the cub was in danger and unable to escape the tree. His ambitions exceeded his means, and he flew too close to the sun. Many people who worked in the square feared that he might fall and hurt himself, so they took the matter into their own hands.

Everyone assembled by the sycamore tree, and it was decided that a forest ranger would would coax the cub down and then sedate him. The citizens then worked together to remove the bear from the square and relocate him to his forest home.

Hooray! The baby bear is saved! Everyone returned to their daily tasks, feeling connected with the community and nature.

The bear woke the next day with a hangover, in a part of the forest he was unfamiliar with. In typical bear fashion, he returned to city. We may never know why — perhaps he was hungry? Maybe he liked the fan-fare. I think he just didn't like being told what to do. Regardless of his reasoning, he decided to walk in the middle of Main Street and was hit by a car.

The little guy is commemorated by a statue fastened to one of the trees in the town square. Bear on the Square is a community festival about the citizens of Dahlonega trying to save a bear, and celebrates Appalachian culture, music and a precocious little black bear who united a town.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest/ Searcy

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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5 Places To Hike Near Syracuse This Fall

A short list of some of the prettiest places to hike in Upstate New York to get all the fall, Instagramable views.

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One of the best things of Upstate New York is undoubtedly the fall foliage and totally Instagram worthy views. If you're looking to get away from campus for a little and enjoy all that the beautiful state of New York has to offer, look no further for a brief list of some of the most photogenic hikes and views.

1. Watkins Glen State Park

Located just a little over an hour and a half from Syracuse, Watkins Glen has picturesque waterfalls and moderate hiking trails that allow you to relish in all the beauty fall has to offer.

2. Buttermilk Falls State Park

Buttermilk Falls, located in the cute town of Ithaca, is one of the many beautiful waterfalls in the Ithaca region. A relatively easy hike, you could complete this in a day and go check out Ithaca or some of the other waterfalls nearby!

3. Bald Mountain

Located in the Adirondacks, Bald Mountain is an easy and popular hike. It gets pretty crowded during this time of year, so make sure to get there earlier if you want a peaceful hike away from lots of people.

4. Letchworth State Park

Known as the "Grand Canyon of the East," Letchworth State Park follows the Genesee River. Although the park itself is around 17 miles, there are shorter trails throughout and the views are gorgeous.

5. Fillmore Glen State Park

Within the Finger Lakes region, Fillmore Glen State Park is like a slightly smaller Watkins Glen. The waterfall is the first sight, and then you have choices of multiple different hiking trails.

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