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You can't rain on our parade!
The Model A Restorers Club of Georgia
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The Old Log Cabin in Pioneer Village
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Stanley Wood demonstrates the art of sawing wood
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Singer Songwriter Scott Brantley
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John Ray Parkers explains how rings tell the story - 180 years to be exact
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An oldie but a beauty - a 1968 Scrambler
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The Gatlin Brothers stop the show for a photo opp
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Shylan Wood shares fresh cider made from a maple log apple press
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People navigate over winding mountain roads, cross several state lines, and set up camp for days, all in hopes of squeezing every second out of the Georgia Mountain Fair and Festival each July and October. In its 64 year history, the Fair has gone from a little weekend get-together to a full week of craft-making, BBQ-smoking, log-splitting, music-belting, parade-watching heck of a good time!
In the 60s, I remember when all this was crammed in a recreation field that was the extent of a Wal-Mart parking lot, with the craft vendors and quilt makers stealing attention from the midway thrill rides. Located in downtown Hiawassee near the old Towns County High School, the fair settled in each fall to the bouquet of wood fires and BBQ, and soon, grew to numbers that overflowed into the main street of the small mountain town. It was time to expand.
In 1978, the Fair moved north of town on the banks of Lake Chatuge where it could spread out. It expanded to twice a year, the Fair in July and the Festival in October. Sponsored by the Towns County Lion Club, its unique permanent set up includes an Exhibit Hall, Craft Booths, Pioneer Village, and the Anderson Music Hall. As a cornerstone of its appeal, the Music Hall features the best in country music and bluegrass like Justin Moore, Aaron Tippin, and Mel Tillis. And on Sunday afternoon, it's a good-ole Southern Gospel meeting with groups like The McKamey's providing the soundtrack. We sang along with Georgia's own Scott Brantley and watched a time-honored performance by The Gatlin Brothers. In October, we're celebrating fall with Ricky Scaggs and if we call in 'sick' to work during the week, maybe even Crystal Gayle.
Hiawassee in the fall is home for me. Include The Georgia Mountain Festival to that equation, and well, that's about as close to heaven as I can get without dying.
We invite you to experience our time at the fair - A Family Affair at The Georgia Mountain Fair - and we encourage you to make your reservations and plans to be in Hiawassee this October. I'll introduce you to my new friends - Stanley Wood, John Ray Parker and Jim Eubanks. I'll make sure Jack Anderson saves some fresh smoked trout for you, too. Y'all come, and make sure you say hello.
Judy and Len Garrison are at home in Farmington, Georgia, just on the outskirts of Dawg country - better known as Athens. Len, an IT manager for a major Atlanta company, and Judy, an editor, author and travel writer, invite you to travel along with them as they explore the best of the South. Email them at email@example.com. Visit their website at Seeing Southern, and follow them on Twitter at @judyhgarrison and @seeing_southern. Don't forget to like them on Facebook.