With 21 festivals around the region, this is the biggest festival weekend of the fall season.
Children's events, cultural celebrations and long-standing arts and crafts shows are among events we're highlighting.
Autumn Children's Festival: It's all about the kids at this children's carnival in the Tennessee Riverpark on Saturday and Sunday. It's free to get in, but bring some cash to buy tickets for the activities, which range from 50 cents to $2. All proceeds benefit the operational expenses of the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House, which houses families of hospitalized children.
"We have about 45 activities this year, including a couple of new games: Plinko and a pitching game," said Jane Kaylor, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga executive director. "We have a petting zoo and pony rides for big and smaller kids. Ronald McDonald will do his magic show on Saturday at noon. Grandpa Giggles will be there on Sunday with balloon animals."
Also new this year are fun activities provided by Children's Hospital at Erlanger that teach healthy habits. These will include glitter handwashing, fake casts, bike safety and Halloween safety activities.
Culture Fest: Twenty-one ethnic organizations are participating in Culture Fest on Sunday afternoon at Chattanooga Market. Between them, there is something for everyone to enjoy from chopsticks and origami lessons to henna hand-painting or sampling cuisine from around the world. A Parade of Nations will take place at 2 p.m.
According to a news release from Melissa Siragusa, there will be performances by Zanzibar bellydancers and Ragetts Mediterranean dancers, as well as Mexican, Filipino-American, American Indian, Peruvian, Indian and Brazilian organizations.
Chattanooga Pipe Band will play at 1 p.m., and African dance and drumming will be presented at 3 p.m.
Hodgepodge: For the first time, Chattanooga Market is producing this big holiday craft show, which takes place today and Saturday in the Signal Mountain Community Center.
Hodgepodge began four decades ago as a showcase for crafts handmade by Signal residents. It has since expanded to include crafters from around the region and now serves as a fundraiser for the Mountain Arts Community Center.
According to Paul Smith, Chattanooga Market manager, 90 exhibitors are expected, about 20 more than participated in last year's show.
"There will be some Chattanooga Market vendors and some new people we haven't seen at the market among the vendors," he said.
Smith is asking shoppers to check the Wish List on www.signalmountainmacc.org before arriving at Hodgepodge.
"We're asking for art supplies or anything on the list they can provide. The MACC does so much for the Signal Mountain community. We're going to put the emphasis on helping, doing anything they can," he said.
Items will be collected at the MACC's booth in Hodgepodge.
Heritage Day at the Marsh House: If you have an appreciation for history, then a visit to the Marsh House is in order.
For a $1 donation, guests can tour the circa-1836 antebellum home, which was occupied by Union soldiers during the Civil War. The tour will include three exhibits: Civil War hospitals and medicine, Old School Days history of education in Walker County and an antique iron display belonging to Richard Gillis.
In addition to the usual festival foods, Terry and Angie Marsh will be cooking fish on-site in an iron pot. There will be vendors selling antiques, collectibles and handmade items.
Visitors will be entertained with melodies of bygone days sung by Vince Stalling. According to Mary Smitherman, the praise and dance teams of Victory Life Tabernacle Church have been asked back by popular demand, and a highlight of the afternoon will be a performance by the highly regarded Mount Zion Baptist Church choir.
FESTIVALS THIS WEEKEND
Arts & Crafts Fall Festival: L&N Depot, Etowah, Tenn., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, free. 423-263-2228.
Autumn Children's Festival: Tennessee Riverpark, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, free admission, activities require tickets that are 50 cents to $2. Children's festival to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chattanooga. 778-4300.
Boynton Craft Show: Boynton Church of God, 1956 Three Notch Road, Ringgold, Ga., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, free. 706-935-6972.
Camp Joy Fun Festival: Camp Joy, 6626 Hunter Road, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, free, yard sale, cruise-in, crafts, games, cake auction, J103 live remote. 488-9678.
Culture Fest: Chattanooga Market, First Tennessee Pavilion, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, free. Presentations by more than 20 ethnic organizations. chattanoogamarket.org.
Fall Bazaar: First United Methodist Church, 3425 N. Ocoee St., Cleveland, Tenn., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, free; homemade soup/dessert lunch 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 476-4504.
Fall Festival: John C. Campbell Folk School, 1 Folk School Road, Brasstown, N.C., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $5 adults, $3 ages 12-17. 828-837-2775.
Go!Fest: Chattanooga Zoo, 1254 E. Third St., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, free day at the zoo for people of all ages and abilities. www.gofestchattanooga.org.
Grape Stomp: Georgia Winery, 6469 Battlefield Parkway, Ringgold, Ga., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, $10 ages 11 and older. Winery tours, music by Buckner Brothers, Lockhart's barbecue, craft and food vendors, hayrides, kids activities, wine tasting with souvenir wine glass. 706-937-WINE.
Great Pumpkin Festival: City Hall, Allardt, Tenn., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. CDT Saturday, free. Craft vendors, Great Pumpkin weigh-off, car and motorcycle shows, 3 p.m. parade, music 12:30-3 p.m. 931-879-4625.
Heritage Day Festival: Marsh House, 308 N. Main St., LaFayette, Ga., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, free admission, tours of historic house $1. 706-638-5187.
Hodgepodge: Signal Mountain Community Center, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Saturday, $3, benefits Mountain Arts Community Center, 40th anniversary show. 402-9960.
Kudzu Festival: North Shore business district, presented by North Shore Merchants Collective. Today-Sunday special sales and discounts; 10 a.m. Saturday street parade on Frazier Avenue, 8-11 p.m. Kudzu Ball at Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St., $10. www.kudzufestival.com.
Monteagle Homecoming and Civil War Days: 16 Dixie Ave., Monteagle, Tenn., 3-8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. until dark Saturday (all times Central), free. 931-924-2265.
Nillie Bipper Festival: Tri-State Exhibition Center, half-mile west of I-75 at Exit 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 100 vendors, $5 adults, $4 ages 60 and over. Sponsored by the Cleveland Creative Arts Guild. clevelandchamber.com
One Bridge Art Festival: Winder Binder Gallery and Bookstore parking lot, 40 Frazier Ave., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, free. 413-8999.
Pumpkin Festival: Soddy-Daisy Municipal Park at Soddy Lake, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, free, live music, mule rides, kids games; sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Chapter 942. 718-1735.
RiverRocks: Outdoor festival with 90 events through Oct. 14 to celebrate the area's natural beauty. For a complete list of events, check RiverRocksChattanooga.com.
Rocktoberfest: Rock City Gardens, Lookout Mountain, noon-5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday through October. Rock City square transformed with German food, music and dance, free with regular park admission. seerockcity.com/rocktoberfest.
Sewanee Arts and Crafts Fall Fair: Shoup Park on University Avenue, campus of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. CDT Saturday, free, 40 exhibitors. 931-598-9059.
Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration: Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., continues through Nov. 3 (10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, closed Thursday). One-day ticket $56 ages 12-59, $51 ages 60 and older, $44 ages 4-11. www.dollywood.com.
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 ...