Rainbow Family Gathering peaceful so far

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard said Tuesday the Rainbow Family Gathering in the Niblewill area of the Chattahoochee National Forest just north of Dahlonega has been fairly non-eventful.

The “family,” which has been described as a loosely-organized group of hippies, nudists and itinerants that grew out of the anti-war, counter-culture movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, meets annually at a different national forest to “promote world peace, love and healing.”

In the past a small segment of the family has caused significant negative impact on nearby communities. In 2014 during a gathering in the Wasatch Mountain Range in Utah, a man was stabbed and a woman was found dead.

Several hundred family members have arrived so far and before the event concludes on July 5, up to 10,000 are expected.

“There really hasn’t been a lot of trouble,” Jarrard said. “I hope it will come and go without any trouble. Any time you have a large event like this that a lot of people attend, no matter which group it is, there can always be a small percentage that wants to cause trouble.”

While the sheriff is hoping for the best, he is prepared for the worst.

On Monday, he swore in 30 U.S. Forest Service employees which expanded their jurisdiction from the national forest to all of Lumpkin County. Georgia State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Corrections and several cities and counties have sent deputies to help keep the peace. Forsyth County has sent as many as 25 deputies.

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