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Celebrate fall festival season in Georgia mountains

Nine-day event kicks off this weekend in Hiawassee

POSTED: October 10, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Fall is breezing its way through the North Georgia mountains, as well as a wave of pumpkin patches and fall festivals to bring the new season to life.

One festival expects to set itself apart with famous musical acts, a crowd of 25,000 people, a fiddle convention and helicopters. It also hopes to live up to its 2013 Top 20 events award, which was won earlier this year.

The Georgia Mountain Fall Festival at Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee will be Oct. 11-19 with arts and crafts starting at 10 a.m. Friday. Arts and crafts will be featured each day.

Hosting the popular Georgia Official State Fiddler’s Convention, the fall festival will bring top-notch talent from not only fiddle players, but bluegrass bands, finger-style guitar, flat-pick guitar, harmonica, banjo and mandolin players. The convention will wrap up the festivities Oct. 18-19.

Musicians ringing in the first days of the event include big names such as Brenda Lee, Ricky Skaggs, The Isaacs and Percy Sledge. The Georgia Mountain Fair Band will keep music going between acts.

Allowing for visitors to arrive early on Sunday for a gospel experience, the festival will include an interfaith worship service at 11 a.m. followed by three gospel music shows at 2 p.m.

Besides the music, helicopter rides will be given, but only on two days. Blue Ridge Helicopters will visit the festival Oct. 12 and 18.

Dan Nichols with the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds said beyond the arts and crafts, food, music and helicopters, the revival of an old event is expected to be the most popular.

“Our biggest attraction probably is going to be our lumberjack show,” he said, noting the event is returning after not appearing for a couple of years.

The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show will include events such as log rolling, an ax toss and other demonstrations.

Reflecting the history of the mountains, the fairgrounds will feature the Pioneer Village, where locals will demonstrate the “old ways” of quilting and corn milling. How moonshine was distilled using an authentic apple cider press can be seen as well.

For visitors older than 9, admission is $11. Parking will be free. The one-day admission fee will grant access to all music shows happening on that day.

For those with limited mobility, the fairgrounds offers “A Scooter For You,” which is a scooter rental program and costs $10 per hour. Daily rentals cost $50.

Children and their parents can enjoy “Little Pete’s Railroad,” an award-winning, trackless and completely functional train working its way through the scenery of the fairgrounds.


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