The annual Liberty Tree Festival makes its return to downtown Dalton this weekend.
Citing the costs, organizers of the festival renamed it the barbecue festival last year and dropped some of the attractions they’d brought to Dalton in the past for the event, such as a replica Liberty Bell.
But they’ve brought the Liberty Tree name back this year by popular demand.
“Everyone continued to call it the Liberty Tree festival and ask about it,” said Veronica French, marketing director for the Downtown Dalton Development Authority, which sponsors the event. “We wanted to make sure that Dalton continues to be recognized as the home of Georgia’s Liberty Tree, so we decided to bring back that name.”
While some of the more expensive elements of past Liberty Tree Festivals won’t be included, French says the tree will be featured this year.
“We’ll be taking kids over to see the tree and including some activities for them with it,” she said.
Georgia’s Liberty Tree is a descendant of America’s last original colonial-era Liberty Tree, a symbolic gathering place of the Sons of Liberty during the American Revolution. In 2006, 14 descendant saplings were planted, with one going to each of the original 13 colonies and one to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. Dalton was selected to be the home of Georgia’s Liberty Tree. The tree is next to City Hall on the Selvidge Street side.
The festival features a number of local and national bands, including the New Binkley Brothers, Tiller’s Folly, Chatham County Line and Spatial Effects.
“They are all very family friendly. It’s basically urban bluegrass and some traditional bluegrass. The urban bluegrass adds some instruments that you don’t normally associate with bluegrass and some different songs,” French said.
In addition, the festival features plenty of barbecue from numerous local and regional cookers, activities and inflatables for children, and a beer garden for those 21 and up. Downtown restaurants will be selling food during the festival to provide more variety for those seeking something other than barbecue.
The festival kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and the music starts at noon. The festival resumes at noon on Sunday, with music starting that day at 12:30 p.m
The festival will be in Dalton Green Park, next to the Whitfield County Courthouse on Selvidge Street. Tickets for the entire weekend are $5 for adults. Children 12 and under are free.