Woodard crowned queen of 2019 Miss Georgia Mountain Fair

Miss Georgia Mountain Fair - Carly Woodard

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Carly Woodard, a 2019 Towns County High School honor graduate, was crowned Miss Georgia Mountain Fair Monday, July 22, also winning the talent portion of the competition with her lyrical dance to “You Say” by Lauren Daigie. Miss Woodard will begin attending Young Harris College in August, seeking a degree in nursing with a career ambition of becoming a nurse practitioner. Woodard said that the Georgia Mountain Fair pageant was the first she had ever entered.

The pageant winner holds nine years of dance studies, four years of guitar lessons, and twelve years cheerleading experience. Woodard won two Most Valuable Player awards as a Lady Indian cheerleader, and served as the cheer captain of the team during her senior year. The beauty queen listed her hobbies as hiking, jeeping, dancing, tumbling, attending bible study, and spending time with family and friends. “Throughout the year, Carly will serve as an ambassador for the Georgia Mountain Fair during select events, including the 2020 Miss Georgia Fairs Pageant,” the fairgrounds said. Woodard was awarded $250 and merchandise prizes.

Georgia Mountain Fair

Miss Georgia Mountain Fair Carly Woodard with her royal court

The pageant consisted of talent, evening gown and swimsuit segments, in addition to 5-7 minute interviews conducted by three judges the day prior to the contest at the Holiday Inn Express in Hiawassee.

Jennifer Holloway, winner of the pageant’s 1988 crown, served as the master of ceremony for the event. Adam Penland, Janet Cosby, and Holly Flake served as the pageant judges.

Congratulations are also extended to:

  • First runner-up: Cydnee Thoreson: Lumpkin County, GA
  • Second runner-up: Jamison Wood: Towns County, GA
  • Talent Award: Carly Woodard: Towns County, GA
  • Miss Congeniality: Rylee Kitchens: Towns County, GA

The 68th annual Georgia Mountain Fair, with top-rated musical performances, arts & crafts, carnival rides, one-of-a-kind attractions, and exhibits of North Georgia’s rich history and culture, runs through Saturday, July 27.


Georgia Mountain Fair Parade: Making Memories since 1950

Community, News
Georgia Mountain Fair

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The hot, humid weather didn’t discourage a strong turnout of visitors to watch a caravan of floats, vintage vehicles, horse-drawn wagons, and revellers celebrate the annual opening of the Georgia Mountain Fair. The parade route began at South State Bank at 11 am Saturday, July 20, near Hiawassee Town Square, and slowly made its way to the fairgrounds.

This year’s theme was “Making Memories since 1950.” Businesses, organizations, and government agencies participated in the fun, tossing candy to children along the way. Miss Georgia Mountain Fair, Katie Walsh, rode with her court on the Towns County Lions Club float. Towns County Historial Society created a float in honor of Fiddlin’ Howard Cunningham. Towns County GOP handed out 250 American flags, along with bottled water to thirsty spectators. The City of Hiawassee participated by riding the route in a pulled pontoon boat, with council members and Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales walking nearby.

Bald Mountain Camping Resort joined in the festivities

The 69th annual Georgia Mountain Fair, held at the historic Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, runs through Saturday, July 27. “Thousands of visitors from across the region have experienced the excitement and nostalgia that the event has to offer,” the fair’s website reads. “With first class musical performances, arts & crafts, fun carnival rides, unique attractions and a glimpse into North Georgia’s rich history and culture, the Fair provides something for every member of the family.”

Towns County Softball

First Place Float Winner: Towns County High School Softball Boosters

Remax Hiawassee

Second Place Float Winner: Remax Town & Country

Georgia Fair Parade

Third Place Float Winner: Towns County Soccer Boosters

Feature Image: Cloggers representing the Georgia Mountain Fair


Towns County tourism steadily soars

Community, News
Lake Chatuge

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Tourism is on the rise throughout the Georgia mountains, and Towns County has seen a steady increase in the past several years.

Out of 17 counties reviewed, Towns County placed second in terms of growth in 2016, when the study was last conducted. Research reveals an 8.9 percent increase in domestic tourism expenditures in Towns County since 2007. Only Dawson County exceeded Towns, at an increase of 12.7 percent. Overall, the northeast Georgia mountains experienced 5 percent total growth in tourism in the past decade.

“I am very excited to see the numbers continue to climb, and I am looking forward to seeing last year’s,” Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw told FetchYourNews. “Tourism is our bread and butter as a community. Studies show that households taxes would need to increase $798 per year in order to replace the taxes generated by tourism alone. It’s a win-win situation for both the visitors, who are able to enjoy the beauty of our lake and mountains, and it benefits the residents who live here as well.”

In 2016, tourism supported 4,533 jobs in Towns County, generating $11.37 million dollars in payroll. Local tax revenues amounted to $1.33 million dollars.

Commissioner Bradshaw works in unison with Towns County Chamber of Commerce President Candace Lee, and Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds Manager Hilda Thomson, to bring revenue-generating events to Towns County.

The recent “Get Outdoors!” expo drew over 2,800 attendees, many of whom traveled to Towns County from surrounding areas.

“Made in Georgia” will make its debut on June 30 through July 1, offering products made, grown, brewed, crafted, stitched, and harvested throughout the state. The event will feature an array of vendors, demos, and samples of local products. The event will be held at the Towns County Recreation Center in Young Harris.

The 2018 Bass Elite tournament series, scheduled for Sept. 20 through 23, is sure to draw a crowd as well.

“We are excited to be hosting a tournament of this caliber, and we look forward to showcasing the beauty of our small mountain community to people from all over the world,” said Candace Lee, president of the Towns County Chamber of Commerce. “We want to put Lake Chatuge on the map as one of the best fishing lakes in the southeast, as well as the most beautiful.”

Information on upcoming events in Towns County can be found at GoLakeChatuge.com

Georgia Mountain Fair Parade

Community, News No Comments on Georgia Mountain Fair Parade 199

Antique motorcade participates in Georgia Mountain Fair Parade

Hiawassee, GA – In spite of the harsh morning heat, spectators gathered along Highway 76 on Saturday, July 22, for the Annual Georgia Mountain Fair Parade. Onlookers of all ages began arriving an hour in advance to stake coveted viewing spots in the shade. This year, 2017, marks the 67th Anniversary of the Georgia Mountain Fair’s inception which runs through Saturday, July 29, of this year.

The parade began promptly at 11:00 a.m. and traveled west through town from Park Sterling Bank to its final destination, the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. Grand Marshal Billy Clark and his wife, Ann, lead the way. Georgia Mountain Fair’s General Manager, Hilda Thomason, provided details on Grand Marshal Clark saying, “Billy is 71-years-old, has worked at carnivals since he was 15-years-old, and got his start at the Georgia Mountain Fair in the 1950s. He owned a carnival which he sold last year. We thought it would be nice to have him as our Grand Marshal in this year’s parade.”

Floats created by the Towns County Lions Club and Brasstown Manor followed closely behind the black convertible which carried Mr. Clark. Vintage cars from different eras and a variety of jeeps also partook in the event. Many of the participants tossed candy to the children eagerly waiting along the sidewalks. The small town parade commenced with a group of horseback riders, waving to the crowds as they passed by.

The Georgia Mountain Fair is located on Highway 76, between the towns of Hiawassee and Young Harris. Admission is $12. Children 12 and under are free.

Scott and Melissa Hamilton parade through town.

Billy Clark – Grand Marshal

Lions Club float escorts beauty queens.

Old-Fashion GOP rally to coincide with Georgia Mountain Fair parade

Towns County GOP

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Republican Party is seeking additional vendors and performers for its upcoming Old-Fashion GOP Rally and Bar-B-Q, scheduled to coincide with the opening of the Georgia Mountain Fair parade Saturday, July 21, 2018.

While the events are not related, they are set to take place on the same day.

“Hometown Pride” is the theme of this year’s Georgia Mountain Fair opening day parade. The parade will celebrate its 68th anniversary. Floats will trace their way down Main Street, along with antique cars, tractors, fire trucks, horses, and the Towns County High School marching band. First prize for best float is $2,500. A total of $4,500 in prizes will be awarded. The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds has received 15 participant applications thus far and expects that number to increase as July approaches. Businesses and organizations who would like to take part are asked to contact Hilda Thomason, manager of the fairgrounds, at 706-896-4191.

Following the parade, Towns County GOP will host local and statewide political primary “through” candidates on Hiawassee Square.

“We want to organize a very positive event,” Towns County GOP Chairwoman Betsy Young told FetchYourNews. “It will be a day of contests, music, food, crafts, and candidates on the stump. A fun, old-fashion rally.”

Young said there will be an elephant-calling contest, and the Towns County GOP mascot, “Trumpet”, a large inflatable elephant, is sure to join the festivities.

Chris Clinton Band is scheduled perform, and several vendors have already signed up to participate in the event. Barbecue pulled pork, ice cold drinks, and homemade baked goods will be available for purchase.

Plenty of 10-by-10 foot spaces are still available for $20.00 per spot. Proceeds will benefit the Towns County Republican Party general fund.

Set-up begins at 8 a.m. with the rally beginning once the parade ends. The Georgia Mountain Fair parade is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

Those interested in participating as vendors or musicians at the political rally are asked to contact Betsy Young at TCGOPChair@gmail.com.


Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw updates Towns County, Coach Jimmy Smith retires

Coach Jimmy Smith

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw announced several community updates and plans at his monthly meeting at the Towns County Courthouse on the evening of Nov. 21, 2017, before a large turnout of citizens.

Commissioner Bradshaw explained the county is in the process of completing the 2018 budget, and it will read similar to the 2017 quota, with expectations of ultimately landing below budget.

Towns County is set to host the Bassmaster Elite Tournament in September 2018, and the event expects to add an estimated $1 million to $2 million dollars to the local economy. “This is a huge thing for our county,” Commissioner Bradshaw divulged. “Towns County will feel the effects for many years.” The Bassmaster Elite is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments offered.

Three detainee road crews completed upkeep on the fire tower located on High Tower, which involved pressure washing the structure and replacing the roof, among other repairs.

The fire department sign on Highway 76, one of the first signs seen when traveling west into Towns County, was replaced with a more appealing version, and the parking lot at Fire Station 1 in Hiawassee was repaved.

Towns County Daycare installed a code pad at their entrance for security purposes. Parents will receive a code, and a doorbell system was added for vendors.

The Georgia Mountain Fair “Mountain Country Christmas in Lights” will open on Thanksgiving night. Commissioner Bradshaw praised the fair’s General Manager, Hilda Thomason: “Hilda has done a great job to grow it each year.”

Approval of the 2018/2019 Federal Transit Grant Application took place. The application amounted to $96,900, half of which will be matched by Towns County. The actual amount awarded may be less as it is dependent on operational costs and based on expenditures for the year. Towns County Transit operates Monday through Friday and provides transportation for residents without vehicles.

A resolution approving the purchase of state-mandated Firefighter Cancer Insurance was read and signed by Commissioner Bradshaw. The insurance was purchased through the ACCG program. Newly elected Hiawassee City Councilwoman Amy Barrett inquired whether future coverage could be acquired locally. The Commissioner replied that the concept is worth exploring.

An application for a grant to fund the development of ADA projects at the Highway 288 Lake Chatuge Recreational property was read and signed by the Commissioner. Handicap ramps, renovation of the parking lot, accessibility for kayaks and canoes and a water trail are expected to be completed. Towns County is requesting $200,000 in funding, but less is anticipated for approval. Towns County will be reimbursed for 80 percent of the total cost and detainee labor will be used accordingly.

Towns County Courthouse

Towns County Courthouse

Last on the new business agenda was approval of the Towns County Sheriff’s Office policy on the implementation and regulation of credit cards for deputies to purchase fuel while transporting inmates out of county. Sheriff Chris Clinton explained the deputies were paying the cost out of pocket, then receiving county reimbursement, prior to the policy’s adoption. Each card is assigned to the transport vehicle’s VIN number. The policy will save the taxpayers the cost of federal and state taxes that were included in out-of-pocket purchases.

The final segment of the commissioner’s meeting was dedicated to the recognition of Towns County Youth Program Coach Jimmy Smith, who is retiring after 21 years of service.

“It is amazing what this man has done,” Commissioner Bradshaw said as he presented the coach with an award. “I can’t say enough. You don’t know the impact you have made on the county and kids.”

“He’s not made a dime to do this. We would not have Little League football if not for Jimmy Smith,” the Commissioner expressed, defining the retiring coach’s love and compassion for children.

Commissioner Bradshaw holds his monthly briefing on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the courtroom of the Towns County Courthouse. Public comments and questions are welcome as the meeting concludes. Several citizens praised the commisioner’s efforts in the community as the November session adjourned.

Featured Image: Commissioner Bradshaw presents award of recognition to Coach Smith

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