Editorial: The Prater's Mill County Fair this weekend is a local tradition you should attend

The summer heat that extended into the fall has finally broken as this weekend's temperatures are expected to peak in the low 70s and drop into the low 50s.

It's about time.

And it's about time for one of the best fall festivals in the South -- the annual Prater's Mill Country Fair Saturday and Sunday on the mill's grounds in Varnell.

The fair is a true representation of Appalachia featuring mountain music, Southern foods, living history exhibits and handmade crafts and art items of some 170 talented artists and artisans. There will be plenty of live demonstrations, from blacksmithing to wood carving to hand-tufting, which was the foundation of the tufted carpet industry that turned Dalton into the "Carpet Capital of the World."

The festival happens against the background of the red and white water-powered mill known for decades as Prater's Mill, which was built in 1855. The mill fell into disrepair, so in 1971 volunteers started the festival to raise money to restore the mill and surrounding buildings.

Years later, those volunteers were successful. We as a community are blessed to have a restored, vibrant Prater's Mill area highlighted by the country fair during the second weekend in October.

In addition to the mill, visitors can tour the Shugart Cotton Gin, 1898 Prater's Store, Dr. Lacewell's office, Caboose, Westbrook Barn & Goodner-Smith Farm collection and the Prater's Store.

Fair hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Adult admission is $7 cash per person per day for adults; children 12 and under are free; military members with ID are free. Parking and shuttle service are free. If you don't have cash, there is now a card option. Text PMTIX to 44321 on your smartphone to buy advance online tickets ($7.50), or visit pratersmill.org/fair. Visitors should dress casually and wear comfortable shoes, organizers say.

History abounds at Prater's Mill. And this weekend, arts, crafts, singing, dancing and plenty of scrumptious fair food will abound. We hope you are able to attend.

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