Weekend festivals in Chattanooga area built around foods, fall

John Davisson/Invision via AP / Suzy Bogguss performs at the BMI Howdy Texas BBQ at Stubb’s BBQ at the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. The country singer known for such hits as “Hey Cinderella” and “Someday Soon” will close out the International Cowpea Festival in Charleston, Tenn., on Saturday. The concert is included in the festival’s $5 admission fee. /

Twelve festivals and fairs within a couple hours' driving distance of Chattanooga this weekend will give tri-state residents a taste of cowpeas, a brush with folk traditions and a preview of fall.

(READ MORE: Moon River Music Festival, Brew Skies Beer Festival among weekend entertainment options in Chattanooga area)

The Fall Market scheduled Saturday at Collegedale Commons is the first of seven events in four months being produced by Shannon Wright, owner of Touch the Sky Events & Promotions in Cleveland, Tennessee. In a telephone interview, she said she is expecting 180 vendors for her kickoff to the season.

Her vendor spaces have been sold out for two or three weeks in anticipation, she said, even though "it's still a little warm" for the full fall experience.

At Fall Creek Falls State Park in Spencer, Tennessee, the wood-splitting and crosscut-saw competitions will return to the Mountaineer Folk Festival after a pandemic pause. The festival, which showcases old-time foods, crafts and ways, typically draws around 10,000 people over three days, park ranger Matthew Brown said in a phone interview.

Two Southeast Tennessee cities will host festivals built around particular foods. In Niota, visitors can feast on fried green tomatoes. In Charleston, the focus is on cowpeas, which are similar to black-eyed peas.

Two North Georgia cities will kick off their events with parades Saturday. In Calhoun, the step-off starts at 11 a.m. to begin the Northwest Georgia Regional Fair. In Helen, the eight-week Oktoberfest celebration starts with a parade at noon.


-- Cherokee Fall Festival: Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, 576 Highway 360, Vonore, Tenn. Cherokee arts and crafts demonstrations, music and dance, authentic food, blacksmithing, living-history demonstrations, Civil War encampment, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $10 adults, $5 ages teens 13-18, $25 family rate. sequoyahmuseum.org

-- Fall Market: Collegedale Commons, 4950 Swinyar Drive. Arts, crafts, specialty products and food vendors, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. 423-650-1388

-- Fried Green Tomato Festival: Niota Depot, 201 Main St., Niota, Tenn. Live entertainment, green tomato cook-off, tractor show, food booths, craft vendors, petting zoo, pony rides, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. cityofniota.org

-- International Cowpea Festival: Hoyt Berry Municipal Park, Market Street Northeast (between Wool Street Northeast and Worth Street Northeast), Charleston, Tenn. Includes cook-off by professional chefs (buy a $5 souvenir spoon to sample and vote), photo competition, live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, followed by Suzy Bogguss concert. $5 admission for all events. cowpeafestival.com

-- Jackson County Fair: Veterans Memorial Park, 220 Cecil St., Scottsboro, Ala. Livestock shows, agricultural exhibits, carnival, exotic petting zoo, gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sept. 17, carnival opens at 6 p.m. (all times Central). $5 admission ages 6 and up; carnival rides cost extra; $5 parking. 256-437-8280

-- Mountaineer Folk Festival: Fall Creek Falls State Park, 2009 Village Camp Road, Spencer, Tenn. Handmade crafts, pioneer demonstrations, old-time competitions, traditional music, 7-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (all times Central). tnstateparks.com

-- Northwest Georgia Regional Fair: Cherokee Capital Fairgrounds, 1060 Liberty Road SW, Calhoun, Ga. Nightly concerts, livestock and blue-ribbon shows, school bands, petting zoo, carnival midway, gates open at 5 p.m. Friday-Sept. 17. $25 unlimited carnival rides. Parade through downtown Calhoun, 11 a.m. Saturday. nwgafair.com

-- Oktoberfest: Festhalle, 1074 Edelweiss St., Helen, Ga. Traditional music, dancing, food and beer, Thursday-Sunday through Sept. 25, daily Sept. 29-Oct. 30; doors open at 6 p.m. during the week, 1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Opens with parade through downtown at noon Saturday. $8 during the week, $10 Saturdays, free on Sundays; half price for children 6-12; free for active and retired military. helenchamber.com

-- Sequatchie County Fair: 103 Heard St., Dunlap, Tenn. Quilt show, handicrafts and agriculture exhibits open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, Party Animals petting zoo Friday-Saturday, Game Day by community organizations 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday (all times Central). Free admission. sequatchiecountyfair.com

-- Tennessee Valley Fair: Chilhowee Park, 3301 E. Magnolia Ave., Knoxville. Showcase of East Tennessee heritage and agriculture, plus carnival midway, tractor/truck pulls, demolition derby, rodeo, ax throwing, circus acts, tractor show, beer garden, nightly concerts and fireworks, 4 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday, noon-11 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 5-11 p.m. Wednesday, 5 p.m.-midnight Sept. 16, 10 a.m.-midnight Sept. 17, noon-midnight Sept. 18. $12 adults, $9 seniors 65+ and children 6-11; $15 parking; carnival and concerts cost extra. tnvalleyfair.org

-- White Oak Craft Fair: Arts Center of Cannon County, 1424 John Bragg Highway, Woodbury, Tenn. More than 75 artisans with traditional and contemporary works, children's activities, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday (all times Central). Free admission; $3 parking donation. artscenterofcc.com

-- Yellow Daisy Festival: Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain, Ga. More than 300 artists and crafters, demonstrations, food, new Vintage Village with antiques and collectibles, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Admission included in venue's $20 daily parking fee. stonemountainpark.com

(READ MORE: Your 2022 Chattanooga area fall festival guide)

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.