Stories and Events - Blairsville, Georgia


The Green Bean Festival in Blairsville, Georgia

Green Bean Festival Sunflowers

July 29-31, 2011 - The 2nd Green Bean Festival was bushels of fun! Visitors to downtown Blairsville enjoyed shopping for fresh produce, artwork, and homemade crafts. There was something for everyone including exhibits, a recipe contest, a canning contest, green bean pizza eating contests, demonstrations, photos with llamas, water ball walking, a petting zoo, children’s games, a quilt show, entertainment with music and dancing, festival foods, a beauty pageant, a square dance, a parade, a 5K race, a bike ride, canning plant tours, and more!

The Green Bean Festival draws people from as far away as Florida, Atlanta, and Chattanooga. Tourists and local residents enjoy all the activities on the square and then hop aboard the shuttle to catch a ride to the other venues (the Civic Center, Mountain Heritage Museum, and the Canning Plant). All events are free including parking!

Green Bean Festival t-shirts sold like hotcakes and volunteers worked hard to keep up with demand. The Green Bean Man is a popular character during the two day event in Downtown Blairsville. Created by artist Chuck Rogers, the Green Bean Man is the star of the festival! Have you Bean to Blairsville?

The Green Bean Festival is brought to you by the Downtown Development Authority of Blairsville with help from many other organizations including the Union County Historical Society and the Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to United Community Bank, North Georgia Wealth Management, Mercier Orchards, Branan Lodge, Hoyt’s Furniture, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers, BRMEMC, Wet ‘N Wild Carwash, Seasons Inn, Community & Southern Bank, Blairsville Garden Club, Citizen’s South Bank, North Georgia News, Misty Mountain Quilters, Nelson Tractor, Papa’s Pizza to Go, the Union Count Rotary Club, Carl & Rays Antiques, the Union County Farmer’s Market, Ken Ensley, Janet Hartman, DDA volunteers, Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center (GMREC), the City of Blairsville, Union County, and everyone else that worked very hard to make the festival a success.


Green Bean Festival
August 6, 2010 - 2010 Canning Contest Results:

Category #1 Green Beans - White Half Runners, 1 st Place Beverly Bradley, Honorable Mention Charles Totherow, Category #2 Green Beans - Other Varieties, 1 st Place Reba Sosebee, Category #3 Green Bean Pickles, Relishes, and Other, 1 st Place Marvin Barton/Marilyn Fluharty, Honorable Mention Trudy Baker, Category #4 Tomatoes, Honorable Mention William Hoyt, Category #5 Other Vegetables, 1 st Place Beets - Beverly Bradley, Honorable Mention White Potatoes - Lynn and Becky Dyer, Category #6 Soups, Mixed Vegetables, and Vegetable Juices, 1 st Place Veggie Soup - Beverly Bradley, Honorable Mention Tomato Soup - Reba Sosebee, Category #7 Peaches, 1st Place Lynn Harbin, Category #8 Apples and Applesauce - 1 st Place Charles Totherow, Category #9 Other Fruits and Fruit Juices - 1 st Place Pears - Tony Payne, Category #10 Sauces/Salsas - 1 st Place Marvin Barton, Honorable Mention Ketchup - Janice Boling, Category #11 Cucumber Pickles, 1 st Place Lynn Harbin, Honorable Mention Spicy Dills - Charles Totherow, Category #12 Other Vegetables Pickles, Fruit Pickles, and Mixed Pickles, 1 st Place Trudy Baker, Honorable Mention Squash Pickles - Dorothy Patterson, Honorable Mention Dill Carrots and Beans - Charles Totherow, Category #13 Sauerkraut, Relishes, and Chow-Chow, 1 st Place Dorothy Patterson, Honorable Mention Janice Boling, Category #14 Jelly, Jams, and Marmalades, Syrups, Fruit Butters, and Pie Fillings, 1 st Place (tie), Apple Pie Filling - Lynn Harbin, and Dewberry Jam - Charles Totherow, Category #15 Meats, Other, and Miscellaneous, 1 st Place Chicken and Broccoli - Kumiko Smith.

Twenty individuals entered the 1st Green Bean Festival Canning Competition. The total number of entries, in this first contest for Union County, was 102 items ranging from green beans (the star of the event) to "polk salad", squash pickles, and beets. Retired home economist Allyson McGraw said, "The Majority of the entries were in excellent condition with the jars properly cleaned, properly filled with the correct head space, and properly processed according to the USDA and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service guidelines."

Guidelines are based on many years of testing and trials. If anyone is using an old outdated book, it's time to get a new one since pressure canning settings and boiling water bath methods have changed over time.

The judges were pleased with the wide variety of entries, but a little disappointed that there were not very many green bean entries. Junior Burnette, Retired Vocational Agriculture Teacher and former manager of the local canning plant, along with Mickey Cummings, retired County Extension Agent and current co-manager of the canning plant, were pleased with the overall quality of the products presented for judging. The judges did understand that many, many hours of hard labor went into all the products, but some did not meet the qualifications and standards according to the USDA guidelines.

Mrs. McGraw and Mr. Cummings would like to take this opportunity to help educate the public. They pointed out that free home canning and other food processing guidelines can be obtained through the local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension service here in Union County or by accessing the information online at the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences' website. There you will also find information on ordering a copy of the "So Easy to Preserve Book". The website even has an on-line course about home canning and food preservation.

Mrs. McGraw concluded, "People who are still canning green beans at home using the boiling water bath canner instead of a tested pressure canning process are risking food loss and even worse. The risks of improperly processed foods include spoilage of the canned food as will as more serious risks such as botulism poisoning. We highly recommend following USDA tested recipes and procedures for home canning and following the guidelines at the local canning plant. This will ensure a safe product and will lessen the likelihood for food spoilage and losses."

The 2010 Green Bean Canning Competition was a huge success. Many winning jars were opened during the Green Bean Festival by owners willing to let people taste their wares. Favorites included Charles Totherow's garlic dill pickles and of course, the many jams and jellies. Everyone looks forward to the 2011 contest! Late summer and fall produce canned in 2010 will be eligible for the 2011 competition.

Little girl with green beans

July 31, 2010 - Union County Civic Center goes country for Green Bean Festival

The recent Green Bean Festival in downtown Blairsville was two days of old fashioned country fair type fun. During the festival, the Union County Civic Center was host to the Miss Bean Sprout and Mr. Leather Britches Beauty Pageant, the Misty Mountain Quilters, Green 2 Bean Coffees, the Whiskers Project, Friends of Union County Library, Appalachian Kitchens, Logan 's Turnpike Mill, Special Baked Goodies, and the Union County Lions Club.

A highlight of the festival was an informal "reading" by former Georgia Poet Laureate Bettie Sellers. Ms. Sellers talked about the process of writing and encouraged people to give it a try. As she spoke, everyone from young children to senior citizens listened with rapt attention. Thank you Bettie! You were a big hit at the Green Bean Festival.

There were tractors, a youth talent show, a recipe contest, a canning contest, canner pressure checks, and green bean samples. Exhibits included 15 varieties of green beans from the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center, beautiful Misty Mountain quilts, a green bean nutritional display, and herbal remedies from blackberries to yellow root.

Volunteers were on hand to help string, snap, and cook several bushels of beans. Thanks to Hunter, Bailey, and Cole. These three youngsters worked all day on Saturday without complaining! Also thanks to Adam and Tommy - as always, these boys worked hard throughout the event and sold many t-shirts for the DDA.

Local people and visitors turned out to fill the Union County Civic Center auditorium during the festivities. One of the most entertaining events was the Green Bean Youth Talent Competition. MC Timothy Jennings did a great job as did all the young singers, dancers, and musicians. Several categories produced many winners including Nick Payne (Cross Wind), Brian Rhodes (Down with Protesting), Michael Whitehead (My Dear Juliette), Megan King, Carli Tanner, Danielle Balsamo, Katie Rittenhouse, Michael Whitehead, Rachel Todd, Jeremy Webb & Jeremy Garcia, Caitlyn & Cayla Ledesma, Emily Galpin, and Cameron Odom. What talented kids! Congratulations to them all.

Other entertainment included the Sweetheart Cloggers and the John C. Campbell Folk School Cloggers. People were tapping their feet while watching these talented and energetic dancers. These two groups proved that clogging makes people happy!

The Green Bean Recipe Contest took place on Saturday at noon. Green Bean Cake, Sesame Green Beans, and Green Bean Salsa Ole took first place ribbons. There were Bob's Green Bean Supreme, Green Bean Zucchini Bread, Summer Harvest Salad, Mean Green Beans & Cheese, French Skillet Cornbread, and more. Everything was delicious! Winners include Beverly Carter, Betty Moshier, Cecilia Doughtry, Bob Haist, Allyson McGraw, Lanore Murphy, Shanna Beavers, Kristi Wallace, Miranda McGraw, Josie McGraw, Deborah Burrell, and McKyle Harrison.

I would like to personally thank the recipe contest judges for taking time to savor each entry. Joan Drake is a friendly face whether at Antonietta's or out and about in the community. Shea Moss of Blairsville Restaurant is as sweet as they come. Charles Totherow is a food connoisseur. He knows his green beans, and every other type of produce that can be found in this part of the United States . And last but not least, many thanks to Pastor Steve Youngblood for his blessings and participation.

Canning Competition judges had to choose between 102 entries! Judges Allyson McGraw and Junior Burnett, along with Mickey Cummings, were pleased with the overall quality of the products presented for judging.

The Canning Competition had twenty contestants including Beverly Bradley, Dennis Bradley, Charles Totherow, Reba Sosebee, Marvin Barton, Marilyn Fluharty, Trudy Baker, William Hoyt, Becky Dyer, Lyn Harbin, Tony Payne, Janice Boling, Dorothy Patterson, Kumiko Smith, Joanne Allen, Henry Coleman, MyKayla Harrison, Eleanor Smith, Pattie Stephens, and Robert Tatman. Thanks to these folks for participating in the competition. Canning is a lot of hard work but well worth the effort. Where else can you get the home grown goodness and variety of fresh veggies and fruits?

The Green Bean Festival in Blairsville, Georgia was an overwhelming success. Everyone learned about green beans while having a good time. Thanks to ALL the people, especially the Downtown Development Authority of Blairsville and Promotions Committee Volunteers, that helped bring the idea to reality.


Boys enjoying eating fresh produce at the Green Bean Festival

August 1, 2010 - Green Bean Festival celebrates Appalachian Heritage in Blairsville, Georgia

The Green Bean Festival featured free fun for the whole family. Green bean lovers found lots of activities in Downtown Blairsville on the square, at the Union County Civic Center, the Union County Canning Plant, and the Mountain Life Museum.

On Friday there were free Green Bean Seminars at the GMRE Center, a Miss Bean Sprout and Mr. Leather Britches Pageant, and an old fashioned Square Dance.

Saturday brought a bounty of fresh produce, courtesy of Union County Farmers' Market, to the square. There was also a Fun Run, Youth Talent Competition, Canning Competition, and Green Bean Recipe Contest.

Other Saturday activities included a visit from former Georgia Poet Laureate Bettie Sellers, delicious food, shopping, Canning Plant tours, Green Bean Pizza-Eating Contests, Misty Mountain Quilt Guild's Exhibit & Lessons, Recycling Exhibit, Tractor Show, Hit and Miss Engines, Blairsville Cruisers Antique cars, Butt-Mock House & Payne Cabin tours, old tools display, live farm animals from Enota Retreat and Farm, a kids' interactive area, face painting, live entertainment, free samples, and an Awards Ceremony courtesy of Mayor Jim Conley.

Live entertainment included Blairsville School of Dance Cloggers, Sweetheart Cloggers, Folk School Cloggers, Buck & Nelson, Cornbread Ted, and Stealing Autumn.

The Green Bean Festival celebrated the nutrient rich heritage between green beans and the people of North Georgia. The Green Bean Festival increased tourism in Downtown Blairsville and surrounding areas, helped to pass the vast knowledge of our farmers to the next generation, established a larger market for locally grown produce, promoted sustainable "green" living, and created a fun, family-orientated event. The Green Bean Festival highlighted many aspects of the green bean including origins and history to pressure canning and favorite recipes. Thanks to all the hard working people that helped make the festival possible. It was a great success!


Little Miss Bean Sprout and Mr. Leather Britches

August 11, 2010 - Miss Bean Sprout and Mr. Leather Britches are crowned in Blairsville, Georgia

Diamond Pageants is pleased to announce the following contestants and their titles: Tiny Mister Leather Britches: Thomas R. Martens, Little Mister Leather Britches: Isaac Garrett McClure, Mister Leather Britches: Brandon Lee Byrd, Baby Miss Bean Sprout: Isabella Blanford, Toddler Miss Bean Sprout: Peyton Williamson, Tiny Miss Bean Sprout: Emma Grace Blanford, Little Miss Bean Sprout: Chloe Danielle Wilson, Petite Miss Bean Sprout: Jamison Elizabeth Wood, Junior Miss Bean Sprout: Anna Tucker, Teen Miss Bean Sprout: Caitlin Blalock, and Miss Bean Sprout: Kara Johnson.

Two Beans In A Pod went to Caitlin Blalock & Gwendolyn Muller, People's Choice Queen was Carter Spencer, and Race for the Crown Queen was Lexi Shaye Davenport.

Other awards presented included Runner Up's in each age division, Farming Wear Queens & Kings, Photogenic Queens & Kings, Farming Wear Photogenic Queens & Kings, and two Overall Supreme Photogenic Winners. Each contestant received a Tiara & Diamond In The Rough Medal. No one left the pageant empty handed!

Beauty Pageant Contestants had the opportunity to compete for People's Choice Award in which they collected items to be donated to The Union County Lions Club.  32 pair of used glasses & 7 used cell phones were collected.  

Lisa Little, Director of Diamond Pageants gave the audience reduced admission to the pageant by bringing cans of green beans. The pageant is pleased to present to The Union County Food Bank 51 cans of Green Beans!

The 1st Green Bean Festival Beauty Pageant was a great success thanks to Lisa Little, owner of Diamond Pageants.

See Green Bean Festival