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Bluegrass, boiled peanuts and BBQ: This festival is at a top spot. And it’s free.

Hear the Apostles of Bluegrass perform

Johnny Roquemore and the Apostles of Bluegrass perform in April 2016 at the Bluegrass and Bluebirds Festival at Dauset Trails in Jackson.
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Johnny Roquemore and the Apostles of Bluegrass perform in April 2016 at the Bluegrass and Bluebirds Festival at Dauset Trails in Jackson.

People have gathered this time of year at Dauset Trails for bluegrass music, barbecue, boiled peanuts, crafts and nature and outdoor demonstrations for 19 years.

Or maybe grown-ups and kids love coming just for a day out together at one of Middle Georgia’s most remarkable spots.

Regardless, Dauset Trails Nature Center’s annual festival is Saturday — and it’s free.

“Yes, it’s free and gates open at 9 a.m. and music starts at 11 a.m.,” said Gordon Respess, a Dauset Trails naturalist and a festival organizer. “The groups will rotate throughout the day and we’ve got two new ones playing this year, the Edgar Loudermilk Band with Jeff Autry and the Traveling Pilgrims. Plus, Johnny Roquemore and the Apostles of Bluegrass will be back. The weather is looking like it will be pretty clear and a little cooler than hotter.”

Getting to Dauset Trails is fairly simple. It’s roughly 40 miles from downtown Macon traveling north up Interstate 75, cutting east across Ga. 42 at Forsyth, then after a pleasant country drive making a left turn onto Mount Vernon Road just before getting to Indian Springs.

Respess said besides the special music and food — which he claims will be as good as ever — the day also offers the center’s usual activities to keep visitors delighted.

“It’s amazing thinking we’ve been doing Bluebirds and Bluegrass for 19 years,” he said. “We thought the festival was a perfect fit for us and it’s proven to be something that appeals to a lot of people and to families. Since admission is free, it’s certainly easy on the budget.”

Respess said beside food and drink, listening to music and strolling through the crafts booths there will be displays and demonstrations at the festival by wildlife and nature conservation groups, other nature centers, orienteerers, HAM radio operators, rock-wall climbing and more.

He said the center’s usual attractions will be open and available, such as the animal trail and its otters, beavers, owls, bald eagle, bison and raccoons, to name a few of the injured and orphaned animals there. Flora trails abound featuring wood, flowering and garden scenes and a barnyard compound. Plus, Dauset has more than 20 miles of bike and walking trails and more than five miles of dedicated horse and walking trails.

“There’s no doubt there’s always a lot to do and learn at Dauset Trails,” Respess said, “but the festival is an especially good day to come enjoy it all.”

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

Bluebirds and Bluegrass Festival

Where: Dauset Trails Nature Center, 360 Mount Vernon Rd., Jackson, Ga.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 20

Cost: Free

Information: (770) 775-6798, www.dausettrails.com

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