Sample crafts, music, food and fun in a small town setting
Hayesville’s historic courthouse sits in the middle of town within a traditional town square and manicured lawn full of flowers and benches. Even the trash cans bear a symbol of Hayesville’s pride. Each summer, the courthouse serves as a backdrop to the town’s annual Festival on the Square.
Sponsored by the Clay County Historical and Arts Council, the festival is held the second weekend every July. More than 70 craft artists gather to make their work available for sale. Musicians, dancers, and performers from the surrounding area create an appealing atmosphere and food from the grill provides a treat for the palate. Kids’ activities are provided in the Art Tent. All events are free.
On Festival weekend, Hayesville is transformed by a town tradition that brings arts and entertainment to the lawns of the Historic Clay County Courthouse/Beal Center, a site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Items like pottery, photography, paintings, gourds, yard art, woodcarvings, jewelry, and textiles are for sale. Many artists demonstrate at their booths.
Fresh, festival BBQ is sold hot off the grill. BBQ chicken and pulled pork dinners, hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches, chips, beans, and slaw are for sale to eat on-site or take home. A bake sale, ice cream, fresh-squeezed lemonade, iced tea, sodas and water are sold while they last.
While viewing the art booths, stop to enjoy the shows that continue all weekend with various soloists, bands, dance groups, and traditional Appalachian entertainment in the gazebo. The festival kicks off on Friday night with free live music with the streets closed to traffic for a block dance and “street jam.” Plan to bring a chair and relax or take to your feet to dance along.
Nearby, visitors can tour the Old Jail Museum and Cherokee Homestead Exhibit.