Fall is right and festival season in Georgia
Launched in 1995, the Cumming County Fair & Festival, which draws more than 225,000 people over its 11 days, also teaches attendees about the good old days. They have a heritage village with a cotton gin and sorghum syrup press, as well as exhibits of a 1900s doctor’s office, general store and barber shop. A native Indian village offers traditional performances and demonstrations.
It’s not all about the food, however.
The Sweet Auburn Music Fest, which began in 2010, has a higher purpose than fun, says Joseph Johnson, chief marketing officer. “What makes this event so special is that it represents a variety of demographics and brings people together. So many things separate us but two things unite us: good food and good music. It’s a party with a purpose and you will go out and have a good time but you will learn things about cancer awareness, education.
People believe in going to the fair, says Miller, who became general manager of the North Georgia State Fair in 1990. “I grew up with the fair since my dad was a volunteer manager before it became big. I always say that even if you don’t spend money on advertising, people know that the third week of September is a good time. It’s a family tradition. »
Miller said the fair used to be more agriculture-focused; now it’s more entertainment. “Half the people don’t do any of the 40 rides,” he said. “In recent years, people come for the food and to see what’s new and unusual.”
But there are still learning opportunities at regional fairs. “Kids grow up not knowing where the milk and bacon come from. We had to go beyond Gwinnett to find kids in the 4H and breeding programs,” says Dale Thurman, county fair director Gwinnett.
Each fair offers something different, whether it’s entertainment, food or special acts. At the North Georgia Fair, for example, country music star Josh Turner headlines a series of concerts, and attendees can watch a bull riding show, a beautiful baby contest , pig racing and David Smith “The Human Cannonball”. Lorrie Morgan anchors Georgia Mountain Fair entertainment and other events include the Banana Derby where monkeys race dogs. Cummings features a Paul Bunyan Lumberjack show as well as a pack of performing wolves.
“The best part is putting it all together, having the perfect time with people having fun and having a good time,” says Miller.
Georgia Mountain Fall Festival. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 7-15. $12. 1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee. 706-896-4191, georgiamountainfairgrounds.com.
Wire & Wood Alpharetta Songwriters Festival. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. from October 7 to 9. Free. 178 S. Main St., Suite 200, Alpharetta. 678-297-2822, wireandwoodalpharetta.com.
Sweet Auburn Music Festival. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 24-25. Free. 320 Irwin St., Atlanta. 678-861-7263, sweetauburnmusicfest.com.
Porches and Pies Festival. 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 24 Free. Adair Park, 742 Catherine St. SW, Atlanta. 203-376-4791, porchesandpies.com.
Georgia Apple Festival. 9am-6pm, Oct 8, Oct 15; 9am-5pm Oct 9, Oct 16 $5 adults, under 12 free. 1729 S. Main St., Ellijay. 706-636-4500, georgiaapplefestival.org.
North Georgia State Fair. 4pm-11pm Sept 22, 26, 27, 28, 29; 4pm-midnight on September 23 and 30; 10am-midnight September 24 and October 1; 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 25 and Oct. 2. $10; under 10 free. Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road SW, Marietta. 770-528-8989, northgeorgiastatefair.com.
Gwinnett County Fair. September 15-25. 5-10 p.m., weekdays, exhibition hall; 5pm-11pm, weekdays, carnival; 11am-11pm, exhibition hall, Saturday; 11am-midnight, carnival, Saturday; 1-9 p.m., exhibition hall, Sunday; 1 p.m.-10 p.m., carnival, Sunday. $10; $5 seniors and 6-11 years old. 2405 Sugarloaf Drive, Lawrenceville. 770-963-6522, gwinnettcountryfair.com.
Cumming Fair and Festival. October 6-16. 4pm-10pm, Monday to Thursday; 4 p.m.-midnight Friday; 10am-midnight Saturday; 12:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. $10; 10 and under free. Cumming Exhibition Centre, 235 Castleberry Road, Cumming. 770-781-3491, cummingfair.squarespace.com.
Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 17 $10; 11 and under free. 400 W. Main St., Blue Ridge. blueridgebluesandbbq.com.