It’s that time of year again with a lot of cooler weather to enjoy all the events that are happening around us! It seems like there is always something happening to entertain and just get us out of the house for a bit.
As many of you probably know by now I am never at a loss for participating in fun activities and getting in some much needed R&R, and this past year has been no different. My husband and I recently took a trip to the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds north of Blairsville in Hiawassee near beautiful Lake Chatuge, as I wanted to see where it was located so that I would know where all the great upcoming concerts and special venues were going to be held.
I also picked a day when I knew a craft festival was being held and dragged my somewhat reluctant husband to tag along!
I loved the shady area of the fairgrounds, and the cooler weather was also a win/win as we strolled along the dozens of artisans selling their various crafts and merchandise. I didn’t realize that there was also an old Pioneer Village located on the fairgrounds with several relocated original buildings from the late settlement. It somewhat reminded me of another Pioneer Settlement located in Barberville, Florida which always held annual events.
The old settlements are a great way to step back in time for just a bit and reminisce about the slower way of life that once existed many years ago. Of course life may have been slower,but we could also appreciate all the hard work and extremely rough conditions those first settlers experienced and how far we have evolved. Although there wasn’t any special event that day at the village area, it was just so nice to walk through and experience the scenery at our own leisurely pace imagining what life was like in that period of time.
We also discovered while at the craft fair that there was another event going on just down the road from us at Meeks Park in Blairsville. Several of the merchants at the fair explained the reason for the lack of people that day was that there was a huge car show and Moonshine Festival at the park also going on simultaneously with the fair. So of course that sparked my interest as well, especially the “moonshine” part, so we left after enjoying the arts and traveled back to Blairsville.
We found out later although the event was hailed as a “Moonshine” event it was basically mostly cars, with more than 500 of them on display at the show.
We did run into one vendor advertising for his moonshine distillery just up the road in downtown Blairsville. While he explained under a county ordinance it could not be sold at the festival, we were welcome to visit the distillery and to take a tour there. So of course that became our plan as well, after we spent a couple of hours checking out all the old cars and listening to the great country and classic rock music bands.
I am particularly glad we hung out a bit there too because I got to run into a couple of my favorite movie characters from ‘Smokey and the Bandit.” Yes, look-a-likes and stunt doubles for Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason were there. Tim Phillips as “The Bandit” and Sean Bailey as Sheriff Buford T. Justice were amazing replicas of the pair! Of course I got to have my photo taken with the two who I swear were almost identical to the original actors in their younger days!
I was told by the pair they were also filming an upcoming movie with actor John Schneider from the ‘Dukes of Hazzard” and that Tim Phillips would be driving the actual General Lee car in the new film which should be coming out soon. I made sure I got a signed autograph from each as well as souvenir postcards too! Tim Phillips also shared with me photos of him with the real Burt Reynolds sadly just before he had passed away.
At the advice of the owner of the Mimm’s Distillery in Blairsville and with daylight still upon us we headed back to Blairsville just minutes away to check it out. The distillery called “Granddaddy Mimm’s Distilling Co.” is located in downtown and didn’t disappoint.
We were even given a free tour of the distillery which lasted about 25 minutes by a very knowledgeable tour guide who explained how the grandfather Jack “Mimm” McClure started the distillery. Grandfather Mimm began moonshining in the 1930s making bootleg spirits in the rural area of Harris County.
In the period of the prohibition which lasted 13 years he was very successful and became very well known in the moonshine era. He passed away in 1969, but his legend lived on through his family and everyone that loved, respected or even feared him. Years went by until grandson Tommy Townsend decided to resurrect the old original recipe from the secret family recipe of the original Mimms.
Today the distillery is busy making not only the original but several varieties including different proofs and flavors as well. The product is still being produced in pretty much the same way too although a lot safer and still in the 100 percent copper stills. After the tour we were invited to sample some of the moonshine; my husband doesn’t drink, but I did opt for one special concoction of a peachy flavored mixture which did not disappoint.
After the visit to the distillery and taking in some of the quaint town’s atmosphere we opted for a bite to eat in a new restaurant and then headed home. We arrived tired but safely back home with another great new adventure experience in this wonderful area of the North Georgia Mountains!