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
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Only a week remains until the highly anticipated Get Outdoors! Expo premiers at the Towns County Recreation and Conference Center, offering a vast array of vendors and programs for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.
FetchYourNews sat down with Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Towns County Chamber of Commerce President Candace Lee on Thursday, March 29, to learn what’s in store. Bradshaw and Lee are excited to welcome the fun-filled event and expect it to become an annual tradition in Towns County.
If hiking is in your future, you won’t want to miss the line up of experts on the subject. Saturday begins with Backpacking 101 with Diane Duffard, an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. Duffard will share tips on preparing for both overnight and long-journey hikes, displaying her own gear as an example.
Later in the day, Joseph and Abigail Pate will host a workshop on multi-seasonal day hikes, focused on packing for a trip, choosing a trail, safety plans, and environmental considerations. Bob Gabrielsen, from Top of Georgia Hostel, will list the “Ten Golden Rules of Hiking the Appalachian Trail.”
On Sunday afternoon, Mary Maddox will share the journey of hiking the Camino de Santiago, a “prayerful path” that winds through the stunning terrain of northwestern Spain. Chef Joey Becnel will offer scrumptious recipes for easy-to-make meal and snack ideas for back-county cooking. The class will offer alternatives for those with allergies or special diet requirements. A primer on navigation and a basic first aid course will be available as well.
Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy hands-on Fly Rod Casting and Fly Tying workshops. Young Harris College Biologist Professor Jonathan Davis will present his research findings on the bass population of Lake Chatuge and other nearby fishing holes. The Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition will provide microscopes to view plankton in pond water, the basis of the aquatic food chain.
Chatuge Gun Club will offer the opportunity to test marksmanship skills at an air rifle range.
Sure to be a hit is Falconer Buster Brown and his birds of prey. Brown will share information on acquiring a raptor, training techniques, housing options for the bird, and species used in the sport. The presentation will conclude with a fascinating seven-minute video of falcons pursuing their quarry.
A falconry demonstration is scheduled for 2 p.m. on both days of the expo.
Children will delight in learning how to make and use turkey calls with avid turkey hunters Keith McKinney and Sam Stowe.
On Saturday afternoon, a class on the creative art of nature writing is planned, followed by a course entitled “String, Beans, and Fairy Godmothers,” which will spark imaginative icebreaker ideas for group leaders.
A worship service will be held on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. led by Pastor Jeff Deaver, of The Cross Church, host of X-treme Christian Outdoors.
Numerous exhibitors with a wide selection of information, displays, and wares related to everything outdoors will be set up both inside and outside of the venue.
Food vendors will be onsite with festival fare such as barbecue, hot dogs, jerky, boiled peanuts, kettle corn, and Italian ice.
The Get Outdoors! Expo takes place next weekend, April 7 and 8, 2018. The expo runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Admission is $5.00 for adults and children over 14 years of age. Children under 14 are admitted without charge. Parking is free.
Admission includes workshops. Program guides will be offered upon entry.
The Towns County Recreation and Conference Center is located at 150 Foster Park in Young Harris, Georgia.
For more information, visit Get Outdoors.
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – The Towns County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the addition of a new expo, “Get Outdoors!” set to take place at the Towns County Recreation and Conference Center next month.
“Get Outdoors!” will include over 100 vendors specializing in hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, RVs, trucks, golf carts, and other outdoor activities.
Some of the participants include Young Harris College Outdoor Leadership, who will offer lessons on fly-tying and rod-casting. The Chatuge Gun Club will provide an air rifle range for children and adults to test their skills. Hiawassee Rivershed Coalition will teach a class on viewing aquatic life. Top of Georgia Hostel and Hiking Center will present the “The 10 Golden Rules of Hiking the Appalachian Trail.” Keith McKinney will be on site to show children how to make turkey calls. A special presentation will shed insight on hiking the Camino de Santiago. Georgia Mountain Falconry will demonstrate their birds of prey.
Craft booths will feature a variety of handmade knives, walking sticks, hand-painted signs, and outdoor furniture.
“Get Outdoors!” is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8, 2018, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults and children. Children under 14 years of age are free. Parking is free.
Towns County Recreation and Conference Center is located at 150 Foster Park Rd in Young Harris, Georgia.
For more information, visit www.getoutdoors.net or call 1-800-984-1543.