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Clermont festival gets a jump-start on autumn
Jimmy McDonald and youngster Devin Berry ride a horse outside the festival grounds of the 15th Clermont Days Festival held Saturday in historic Clermont. - photo by Alexander Popp

Fall is on the way to North Georgia, and even if it seems the weather hasn’t gotten the message, soon it will be time for pumpkins, cider and the changing autumn leaves.

Clermont celebrated the changing season Saturday with its 15th annual Clermont Days Festival in the heart of its historic town. The festival officially began Friday evening with several musical acts and vendors, but the full day of festival began Saturday morning with the annual Main street Parade.

Clermont mayor James Nix said this year’s festival might be the best yet, and that crowds watching the parade Saturday might have been coaxed out by the temperate weather.

“When the weather looks good, they come out,” Nix said.

The parade was led by Parade Grand Marshall Lenore Chambers, given in honor of her 40-plus years teaching in the area.  

After the parade, visitors were invited to browse more than 50 vendor and organization booths, see performances from entertainers and musical acts, and participate in a variety of activities including horseshoes, archery, giant inflatable hamster balls and bouncy castles.

The centerpiece of the event was the room-sized, almost scale model of Clermont from the 1940s and ’50s, lovingly assembled by resident Robert Allison.   

Allison spent years designing and creating the buildings for his models almost completely from memory. The model is brought out by the city for special events like the festival, but both Nix and Allison agree it needs a permanent home where people can see it regularly.