published Friday, August 31st, 2012

Cherokee, Celts and crafts: Area festivals offer variety of fun activities

As many as 2,000 visitors are expected in Ringgold, Ga., this weekend for the Scottish Highland Games sponsored by the Appalachian Celtic Connection.

Athletes from eight states will compete in these games of strength and endurance. Among them will be Highland Games 2012 World Champion Braidy Miller and four of the Top 10 athletes in the United States, said athletic director Rob Hatch.

Moms can shop the Celtic jewelry, ironwork, medieval vendors or Appalachian pottery while kids play Highland children's games. There will be pipe bands and classic rock/country band 6String Sugga Daddy.

"The estimated economic impact is more than likely to be $30,000 to $40,000 to the local economy," said Dan Wright, Ringgold city manager. "That is taking in consideration lodging, dining, gas and retail purchases alone."

Further down I-75 in North Georgia, the 23rd annual Running Water Powwow and Cherokee Homecoming will take place at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome, Ga., on Saturday and Sunday.

According to Frank Blair, North, South and Central American Indians will gather to sing and compete with each other in the dance arena. More than 125 dancers in full regalia will participate in competition and exhibition dancing, he said.

Grand Entry, a parade of all dancers into the arena, will take place at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday.

More than 50 craft and food vendors will be on-site with wares ranging from silver and turquoise jewelry to Indian fry bread and buffalo burgers.

After a rainout last year, the Arts in the Park festival is making a comeback Monday at Veterans Memorial Park in Collegedale.

Paul Smith of Chattanooga Market said although the market's management is operating this event, "it's going to feel a lot more like a fall festival" than the Sunday markets held at First Tennessee Pavilion.

"We're going to have some inflatables for kids, live music and art-centric vendors from the market, along with regional artists," he said.

Ooltewah-Collegedale residents will get to preview two of the restaurants coming to the new Cambridge Square center under construction at the corner of Ooltewah-Georgetown Road and Lee Highway. Smith said Lupi's and Southern Burger will be selling food at the festival site.

FESTIVALS THIS WEEKEND

Appalachian/Celtic Festival and Highland Games: Ringgold Municipal Recreation Facility, 288 Emberson Drive, Ringgold, Ga., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission each day: $5 adults, $3 children ages 6-12. appalachiancelticconnection.org.

Arts in the Park: Veterans Park on Apison Pike, Collegedale, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, free. 402-9960.

British Car and Motorcycle Show: Rugby, Tenn., vehicles on display, food vendors, historic tours, starting at 10 a.m. CDT Saturday. 888-214-3400,

Kids Fest: Knights of Columbus Hall, 7615 Lee Highway, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, free family festival. www.kofc6099.org.

Monteagle Street Dance: Harton Park, Monteagle, Tenn., 6 p.m. CDT Saturday, free, old-fashioned street dance with Dennis Womack and the Flashback Band. 931-924-2265.

Running Water Powwow: Ridge Ferry Park, 501 Riverside Parkway, Rome, Ga., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, $7 ages 13 and older, free to children 12 and under or ages 65 and older. 706-509-8119.

Mid-East Tennessee Regional Fair: Athens Regional Park, Highway 30, Athens, Tenn., 5-10 p.m. today, 1-10 p.m. Saturday. 423-745-6947

Mule Day: Ider Park, Ider, Ala., Monday. Car show registration 8 a.m.-noon, $20 entry; parade 9:30 a.m., mule and horse show at 11 a.m., mule pull at 10:30 a.m., draft horse pull at 1 p.m., gospel singing 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (all times Central). Ages 6 and older $2. 256-657-4184.

Tennessee Valley Railfest: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's Grand Junction Station, 4119 Cromwell Road, 51st anniversary celebration, live entertainment 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, train rides, demonstrations, petting zoo, children's activities and railroad displays, $20 adults and $15 children 3-12 single day, $30 two-day pass; or buy 21st Century Steam excursion ticket to Cleveland for $40 and $45, which includes admission to Railfest today and Sunday at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. www.tvrail.com.

about Susan Pierce...

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 ...

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