Visiting students from Pickens High School jot notes as contributing artist to the 31st annual Marble Festival Fine Arts Competition Show, Dee Ann Boggus (far right), explains the clay model of her own making. Sharptop Arts Association is organizing this year’s show which exhibits an array of techniques and styles from photography to marble sculpture. If you would like an early viewing of the juried art at the Marble Festival Fine Arts Competition, visit the Chamber of Commerce at 500 Stegall Drive in Jasper, Friday, September 23, from 4 to 8 p.m. or Saturday, September 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During this special sneak preview you will be able to take your time viewing or purchasing artwork in a spacious, comfortable environment before the festival crowds.
Every year on the first weekend in October, the Chamber of Commerce celebrates one of the most prized natural resources in the world by hosting the Pickens County Georgia Marble Festival.
Thousands of Pickens residents and tourists come to town for a weekend of events, from the popular quarry tours to the juried fine arts reception, from the parade to the children’s area, to food and craft vendors and much more.
“This year we have some really special things that we are adding,” said organizer Karla Haege. “We are going to have a spectacular kids area with carnival rides from Peachtree Rides, daddy daycare, a breastfeeding and changing station, and that doesn’t include all the stuff we usually have.”
Haege also emphasized the addition of the historic Tate House on the schedule, which will offer semi-guided tours throughout the weekend. The cost for the tour is $10 per person.
According to a press release from the Pickens Chamber of Commerce, red quarry tours include the marble museum and Polycor, which is the main quarry, plus J.M. Huber, a manufacturer of industrial materials. There will also be a stop at the Historic Tate Cemetery and the Blue Ridge Marble & Granite Company of Nelson.
Blue quarry tours include all the features of the Red Tour with an additional stop at Marble Hill Church.
In addition to those tours, there will be a one-time only Green Tour on Saturday. This tour includes the rare opportunity for a buffet lunch at the Tate House. Also included will be a tour of the historic mansion as well as a visit to the main mine owned by Polycor.
It is recommended that you make advance reservations for this tour by September 21. The cost for the Green Tour is $40 for adults. The admission for this tour includes lunch, tours, and one-day admission into the Georgia Marble Festival.
If you do not wish to take the tours but simply would like to have lunch at the Tate House, you can do so with advance reservations. Seating is limited, and you must be at the Tate House on Saturday at noon.
It is recommended that you purchase all tickets for these tours in advance. You can do so by going online to www.georgiamarblefestival.com or by calling 706-692-5600. The quarry tours and the lunch at the Tate House have limited seating.
“We are really looking for this to be a great year for the Marble Festival,” Haege said. “We have some new features that we think people are really going to enjoy.”