Sixteen is this season's record for festivals in one weekend. However, that number pales in comparison to the record pumpkin growers are trying to beat Saturday in Allardt, Tenn., a tiny town northwest of Knoxville.
A pumpkin weigh-in is the highlight of Allardt's Great Pumpkin Festival. Last year's winner took home bragging rights at 1,331 pounds. Organizer Sandra Turner says they are expecting a "1,500-pounder or larger" entry this weekend.
Closer to home, there are heritage celebrations, a huge children's carnival and several fine arts and craft fairs from which to choose.
One Bridge Festival
In a clever spin on the Four Bridges Arts Festival held each spring, Winder Binder Gallery and Bookstore on Frazier Avenue is hosting the One Bridge Art Festival on Saturday and Sunday. The open-air festival is in the parking lot adjacent to Winder Binder on the north end of the Walnut Street Bridge.
"This festival is dedicated primarily, though not exclusively, to Southern folk art," said organizer David Smotherman Jr. About 20 regional artists will be showing paintings, metal work, glass work, sculpture, mixed media and printmaking.
As part of this year's festival, Smotherman said there will be a reading from "Southern Lights: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets" Sunday at 2 p.m. Sunday inside the gallery.
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Nillie Bipper Creative Arts Festival
When a festival thrives for four decades, its organizers obviously know how to throw an event. That's the case in Cleveland, Tenn., where the 44th annual Nillie Bipper Creative Arts Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday in the pavilion on the grounds of the Tri-State Exhibition Center (take Exit 20 off I-75).
The Nillie Bipper name is a clever twist on that of Billie Nipper, one of the festival's organizers who will be exhibiting in this weekend's show. She is one of many artists who will participate with works ranging from folk art to elegant oils.
According to John Simmons, about 80 artisans will be showing in the juried arts and crafts show, with a fourth of them new to the event.
Simmons reminds Nillie Bipper visitors not to toss that paper they'll receive upon paying the $5 admission.
"Fill it out with your name, and put it in the drop box for door prizes that are donated by the exhibitors," he said. Door prizes are awarded every half-hour both days.
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IF YOU GO
What: Culture Fest at Chattanooga Market.
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. (closing 1 hour later.)
Where: First Tennessee Pavilion, 1006 Reggie White Blvd.
Chattanooga Market, which weekly showcases locally grown produce and the art of regional talent, takes on a global viewpoint Sunday when Culture Fest is its featured event.
Local residents representing about 20 nationalities will present their native food, dance, music or art.
Culture Fest is sponsored by the Arts & Education Council of Chattanooga.
This is its third year to partner with Chattanooga Market, said Laurel Eldridge, AEC program director.
Eldridge said new this year will be a Parade of Nations, which will open the market at 11 a.m. Eldridge said there are more hands-on activities at this festival.
The Creative Discovery Museum will sponsor a children's art tent from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All activities are free, she said.
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For the kids
It's all about children this weekend in the Tennessee Riverpark, where the 22nd annual Autumn Children's Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday.
It's free to get in, but once inside the carnival area, all activities have nominal fees ranging from 50 cents to $3. All proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chattanooga.
The festival is sponsored by the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants, with the support of numerous local companies, according to Chinyere Ubamadu, RMH spokeswoman. The CPAs have made sure there will be something to appeal to all ages, from a mobile video-game theater to a petting zoo.
In addition to the usual face painting and pony rides, there will be carnival games with fun prizes, arts and crafts and even a magic show by Ronald McDonald to entertain little visitors.
Parents keep your cameras handy for photo-ops of your children with the many costumed characters that roam the carnival site.
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For history buffs
* Learn authentic Cherokee weapon-making or dance steps at the Museum Center at Five Points, 200 E. Inman St., Cleveland, Tenn., today during its Cherokee Family Day.
* Visitors to the Marsh House's Heritage Day in LaFayette, Ga., can pick up some tips from Frank Wood on cooking over a campfire. Wood will be set up on the grounds of the circa-1836 mansion. Martha Steele will be demonstrating quilting methods, and there will be tours of the antebellum home.
Mary Smitherman said entertainment will be presented throughout the day by Vince Stalling, Breanna Burrell, Brenda Mostiller, Haleigh Parker, Jordan Teems, Taylor Thomison, Madison Vest, First Step Dance Studio and Mount Zion Dance team.
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FESTIVALS THIS WEEKEND
Allardt Great Pumpkin Festival: Allardt, Tenn., City Hall, 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Saturday, free, 2 p.m. parade, Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off is highlight. www.AllardtPumpkinFestival.com.
Autumn Children's Festival: Tennessee Riverpark, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, free admission, carnival tickets are 50 cents to $3, benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chattanooga. 778-4300.
Autumn on the Farm: Sunrise Farm on Sand Mountain, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, $6 ages 13 and up, crafts, gospel music, food by Dade County nonprofits. 544-0034.
Cherokee Family Day: Museum Center at Five Points, 200 E. Inman St., Cleveland, Tenn., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon Cherokee weaponry, $12 adults, $7 children; 1-2 p.m. Cherokee social dancing, $10 adults, $6 children. 423-339-5745.
Craft Show: Boynton Church of God, 1956 Three Notch Road, Ringgold, Ga., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, free. 706-935-6972.
Culture Fest: First Tennessee Pavilion during Chattanooga Market, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, free, sponsored by Arts & Education Council. www.CultureFest.org.
Grape Stomp: Georgia Winery, 6469 Battlefield Parkway, Ringgold, Ga., noon-4 p.m. Saturday, $7 in advance, $10 at the door. 706-937-9463.
Great Locomotive Chase Festival: Downtown Adairsville, Ga., I-75 Exit 306, west on Highway 140 through light, then left onto Main Street, travel one mile to downtown square; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, $3 ages 7 and up. 770-773-3451, ext. 26.
Heritage Day: Marsh House, 308 N. Main St., LaFayette, Ga., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, free. 423-718-9918.
Michaelmas Festival: Rugby, Tenn., 70 miles northwest of Knoxville on Highway 52, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., seatings for British Cream Tea at noon and 2 p.m., $10 tea, reservations required to ensure tea seating. 423-628-1282.
Mountain Homecoming and Civil War Events: Monteagle, Tenn., pavilion, 16 Dixie Lee Ave., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. CDT Saturday, free. www.monteaglechamber.com.
One Bridge Arts Festival: Winder Binder Gallery, 40 Frazier Ave., noon-8 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, free. 413-8999.
Nillie Bipper Creative Arts Festival: Tri-State Exhibition Center, Cleveland,Tenn., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $5 ages 13-59, $3 ages 60 and up. 423-476-4831.
Rocktoberfest: Rock City Gardens on Lookout Mountain, noon-5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October, free with regular admission of $18.95 adults, $10.95 ages 3-12, German food and music. seeerockcity.com.
Sewanee Arts and Crafts Fair: Shoup Park on campus of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. CDT, free, 40 exhibitors. 931-598-9059.
Soddy-Daisy Pumpkin Festival: Soddy Lake North Park ballfields on Old Dayton Pike, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, free festival with craft and food vendors, music, children's games, pumpkins and gourds for sale; Pumpkin Festival Rod Run, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., $20 entry fee, motorcycles, cars, trucks, tractors welcome. Benefits Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 942. 718-1735
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...