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Clermont Days celebrates old-fashioned family fun
Parade, contests keep kids of all ages coming back for annual festival
Tyler Sewell leads a line of tractors Saturday down Main Street in Clermont during the Clermont Days parade. - photo by Tom Reed

CLERMONT — There was only one place in Hall County on Saturday where you could participate in archery and laser tag, pet a goat and a pig, and watch a parade while chowing down on some boiled peanuts and a snow cone.

Locals know that fall just wouldn't be the same without the Clermont Days Festival, which celebrated its ninth year.

This fun-filled day for families kicked off with a 5K run and a 1K fun walk. There were bands playing throughout the day, a car show, a horseshoe-throwing contest, arts and crafts vendors, the Miss Clermont Pageant and fireworks at dark.
And that doesn't even cover all of it.

So how has this small-town festival become such a big and beloved event?

"We have the perfect place for it," said John Brady, the chairman of the Clermont Days Festival. "We are out in the country, and we don't have a lot of traffic out here - everything is handicapped-accessible, and we just see a lot of families coming out."

Brady said that they try and gear the festival toward children.

"They're going to have memories years from now about coming to Clermont and having a good time," said Brady.

"We plan it for eight months, so to see it come together and see people come out and enjoy themselves is a delight."

Brady also participated as a character in the parade, dressing as SpongeBob Squarepants in honor of his three grandchildren who love TV character.

"I called myself ‘Sponge John,'" he said with a laugh.

Hoping to get kids involved with an outdoor activity, Bud Tingle, head coach of the Hall County 4-H Club, was set up at the festival with bows and arrows. He was giving kids the opportunity to learn more about archery, specifically form and safety.

Karla Kiefer, executive secretary with the Hall County 4-H Club, said that the kids "have a ball" learning about archery, especially those in their program.

"They do it rain, shine, or snow," Kiefer said. "It could be pouring down rain, and they will say, ‘Let's go shoot!'"

While participating in numerous activities, many awaited the parade, which began at 1 p.m. with the East Hall Honor guard.

Former North Hall High School student Hannah Rogers said people really love the parade, especially kids who get tossed candy.

"They also get to see the horses and the tractors," said Hannah's sister, Rachel Rogers.

Their father, Alan Rogers, said that the Clermont Days Festival has a really nice atmosphere and "it is a good old fall festival."

"When you come you get to see people in the community that you don't normally get to see," said Alan's wife, Leslie Rogers. "You enjoy good fellowship, gospel music and really good food."