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A Weekend of Fall Festivals

Make a date with your spouse and enjoy at least one of the many fairs and festivals happening this month.

Every October, the tiny town of Loachapoka, AL, with a population 170 or so, hosts Syrup Sopping Day, an event celebrating the history and demonstrating the traditional methods of making syrup out of sorghum and sugar cane. It’s a lot of fun, and there’s even a mule in a harness that walks in circles to grind the cane.

Syrup Sopping Day is a big deal these days. More than 15,000 people attend and enjoy an afternoon of fall weather, arts and crafts, bluegrass music and lots of syrup. My late mother loved this community event and was a craft exhibitor for a couple of years before her health declined.

I have wonderful memories of Syrup Sopping Days and find myself saddened when October rolls around, and I can’t load my mom into a car and head to Loachapoka. After all, autumn isn’t autumn without a good festival.

Fortunately, numerous and fairs are scheduled this month throughout North Georgia. They may not have mules, but there are plenty of musicians, crafts, foods and demonstrations to be found. And while these events are family friendly, they provide a unique opportunity to escape with your spouse or a group of adult friends for an afternoon or evening.

Here are some events for you to consider:

: Now through Sunday at the . See the American Bull Riders Tour and attend the chainsaw-carving auction. The Charlie Daniels Bandplays at 8 p.m. Thursday. This looks like a fun event with lots of food, music and activities daily. Visit the event website or call 770-781-3491 for more information.

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival: Now through Saturday at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds inHiawassee. This festival includes a flower show and educational demonstrations in quilting, soap making and blacksmithing. Plus there is an amazing lineup of musicians scheduled each evening.Georgia’s Official State Fiddlers Convention will be held at the festival Friday and Saturday, including competitions in various musical instrument categories. Browse the festival website or call 706-896-4191 for more information.  

Georgia's Official Sorghum Festival: Visit this festival this Saturday and Sunday at Meeks Park on Highway 515 just west of Blairsville. This festival includes music, square dancing, a car show and "Biskit" Eatin' contests. And it looks like they have a mule, too! Don’t miss the other competitions for buck dancing, pole climbing, log sawing, rock throwing and tobacco spitting. The event is sponsored by the Blairsville Jaycees. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. Visit the festival websiteor call 706-745-4745 for more information.

Georgia Literary Festival: The 13th annual festival will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Sautee Nacoochee Center, an art community just south of Helen. Enjoy music, storytelling, lectures and book signings by prominent authors. Autumn leaves will be at their peak in this beautiful valley. Browse the event website or call 404-370-8450 at ext. 2225 for more information.

Gold Rush Days: Sponsored by the Dahlonega Jaycees, this annual event will be held this Saturday and Sunday at the Public Square and Historic District in Dahlonega as a celebration of the town’s discovery of gold in 1828. Don’t miss the parade, gold panning contest, wheelbarrow race, wrist wrestling and hog calling activities. Music, food and exhibitors will be in abundance. See the event website or call 706-864-3513 for more information.  

By the way, the sponsors of Georgia’s Official Sorghum Festival boast they have the best sorghum syrup in the world, but I bet they haven’t been to Loachapoka. Guess I need to head to Blairsville and judge for myself!

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