As long summer nights become shorter and cooler, residents of Cherokee County know that autumn weather is just over the horizon. In coming weeks, the green leaves that sweep across the North Georgia mountains will change to brilliant reds, oranges and yellows — those spectacular colors mixed with the cooler weather makes for one great way to enjoy the outdoors.
From festivals to fairs, autumn brings a variety of family-friendly events, including Riverfest, which will be held Sept. 28-29 in Boling Park. Riverfest Arts and Crafts Festival is the cornerstone of the Service League of Cherokee County’s fundraising efforts, according to Millie Cline. The Service League, according to Cline, is a group of 90 women who provide necessities to needy children. Riverfest was created some 29 years ago to make the League’s vision a reality.
“The Cherokee County Service League was looking for an annual fundraising event that would involve participation from the entire community and would provide much-needed funds for the League’s many service projects. Since our emphasis was serving ‘Cherokee County families with children,’ we wanted to create an event that would be fun for the entire family,” said honorary member Judy Bishop.
Throughout the years, Riverfest has grown to feature more than 125 arts & crafts exhibitors.
“When added to our gourmet Marketplace vendors, concessionaires, children’s activity vendors and entertainers, you’re looking at more than 200 exhibitors in total,” Cline said.
In addition to entertainment, kid-friendly rides and work from artisans all over the region, the League also plans to debut its newest cookbook, “Gatherings & Traditions,” at this year’s event.
Riverfest will be held Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for adults and children 11 and older is a $5 donation.
Additional fairs, festivals and events in Cherokee County include:
• Kidsfest: Halloween falls on a school night this year and parents looking for a community-oriented event for their younger princesses and goblins can visit KidsFest, hosted Oct. 31, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., at The Park at City Center. The event includes moonwalks, entertainment, games, face painting, a costume contest at 6 p.m. and candy give-away. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the funniest, scariest and best costume. The City of Canton is hosting a similar event called Zombie Fest, where patrons can enjoy food and participation in a costume contest. The event will be held Oct. 26, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., in the downtown. For more information about Zombie Fest, visit www.canton-georgia.com and click on “Upcoming Events.”
• Woodstock Art & Wine Festival: A few days after KidsFest wraps up, adults are invited back to The Park at City Center for the annual Woodstock Art and Wine Festival, which is a free event held Nov. 2-3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Patrons who are 21 years or older wishing to taste wine are required to wear a wristband which can be purchased for $25 at the event. The festival also features high-end crafts and activities for children. To learn more about the art and wine festival, visit www.woodstockartandwinefestival.com.
• Autumn Fest: Just north of Woodstock in Holly Springs, the city is gearing up for its annual Autumn Fest, which will be held Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Barrett Memorial Park off Hickory Road. The event is designed to celebrate the fall season by bringing the community together with children’s activities, entertainment and arts & crafts. For more information, visit www.hollyspringsga.us and search Autumn Fest.
For those interested in adventuring outside of Cherokee County, nearby counties and the North Georgia Mountains offer an abundance of events in the fall.
• North Georgia State Fair: The smell of funnel cakes, cotton candy and popcorn lingers through the air of Marietta as it welcomes the 81st annual North Georgia State Fair, held at Jim R. Miller Park, at 2245 Callaway Road S.W., near Austell Road, in Cobb County. The fairgrounds opened its doors to the public on Sept. 19 and fairgoers still have four more days to experience the rides and live shows, which includes acts from Oscar the Robot, Brian Ruth the “master of the chainsaw,” and local cloggers and square dancers. New to the fair this year are performances from sea lions and a tiger encounter. Country Music star Lee Brice also will take the stage of the North Georgia State Fair on Sept. 25, followed by Lorette Lynn on Sept. 26, Colt Ford on Sept. 27 and Jerrod Niemann on Sept. 28. All music performances begin at 8 p.m. The North Georgia State Fair hours through Sept. 26 are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sept. 27, 4 p.m. to midnight; Sept. 28, 10 a.m. to midnight; and Sept. 29, 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and children under 10 are free. To learn more about the fair and special offers, visit www.northgeorgiastatefair.com.
• Cumming Country Fair & Festival: Residents who can’t make it to the North Georgia State Fair or for those looking to enjoy “round two” can head up to Cumming Oct. 3 through Oct. 13 for the Cumming Country Fair & Festival. Entry into the fair is $7 for adults and free for children four and under. Students between 5 and 18 years old can gain entry for $3. Advanced ticket sales, where adults are only $5 and students are only $2, end Sept. 28. In addition to the traditional rides and games, the fair will feature musical performances and special offers, including a student and senior citizen night. Visit www.cummingfair.net for more information.
• Georgia Marble Festival: A combination of America folk music and history is what makes the Georgia Marble Festival unique. Hosted Oct. 5-6, the 33rd annual festival, which is held in Lee Newton Park in Jasper, will feature arts & crafts, a bluegrass championship, entertainment, parade and bicycle ride. Entry into the festival is $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under; children under the age of 5 are free. A family weekend pass is available for $20. The Marble Festival was created to celebrate one of Georgia’s most prized natural resources, according to its website, and tours of the marble quarry will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in 30 minute intervals. For more information, visit www.georgiamarblefestival.com.
• Georgia Apple Festival: Nothing quite says fall like warm apple pie and what better way to honor the traditionally-fall food than by stopping by the Georgia Apple Festival, now in its 42nd year. The two-weekend festival is scheduled for Oct. 12-13 and Oct. 19-20, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The festival will be held at the Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds, located at 1729 S. Main St. in Ellijay. Admission for adults is $5 and children under the age of 10 are free. The event also will feature an antique car show, arts & crafts and a parade. For more information, visit www.georgiaapplefestival.org.
• Gold Rush Days: A scenic drive through the mountains on Oct. 19-20 might lead to the middle of Gold Rush Days, an annual festival celebrating the discovery of gold in Dahlonega. The event, which is held in the public square in the historic downtown, features more than 300 arts & craft exhibitors and can generate a crowd of more than 200,000; it’s popularity earned a spot in the Southern Tourism Society’s “Top 20 Events.” Also included in the two-day event is a parade, children activities, a fashion show, gold panning contest, wheelbarrow race, hog calling and live entertainment. To learn more about Gold Rush Days, visit dahlonega.org.
For a list of more fall events and fundraisers specific to Cherokee County, see the Spotlight and Religion calendars in the Community section.