Popular Prater’s Mill Fair Oct. 13-14
The Prater’s Mill Country Fair, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13 and 14, focuses on mountain music, Southern foods, living history exhibits and the handmade crafts and original art of 165 talented artists and artisans. Craft demonstrations include blacksmithing, spinning, quilting, rug hooking, woodcarving and hand tufting, a cottage industry that evolved into the tufted carpet industry centered in Dalton, Ga.
At the fair, visitors take self-guided tours of the operating gristmill, the country store, Shugart Cotton Gin and the Westbrook Barn complete with farm animals. Across the road from the mill in the 1898 Prater’s store guests taste authentic Southern meals. Elsewhere throughout the festival are other specialties such as pit-cooked barbecue, apple cider, fried apple pies and churned ice cream.
During the fair, families enjoy a walk down the nature trail and pony rides for children. Educational exhibits include an authentic Civil War encampment, working antique engines and “Peacock Alley”, a clothesline display of hand-tufted bedspreads.
Continuous entertainment on stage features Appalachian-style clog-ging teams, country bands and gospel singers. Wandering musicians, jugglers, dulcimer players and storytellers perform throughout the festi-val area.
In many minds, the highlight of the Fair is the food. Authentic South-ern dishes like chicken and dumplings, collard greens, and corn bread cooked on a wood stove – near the 1898 Prater’s store (located just across the road from the mill). Other regional favorites are served at var-ious points on the festival grounds. These include delicacies such as John’s Family pit-cooked barbecue, Cochran Family fried apple pies, North Georgia apple cider, and even fresh-churned ice cream.