Hot-air balloons, strawberries, folk art and contemporary art are themes of four big festivals taking place this weekend in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia.
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Paradise Gardens, 84 Knox St., Summerville, Ga.
Details: This tribute to the late folk artist Howard Finster, begun in the 1980s and originally called Finster Day, is held on the 4-acre grounds of Paradise Gardens, which are in themselves a work of art. Everything in the gardens has a meaning, even though Finster’s art recycles a hodgepodge of found objects ranging from toilets to jewelry.
In addition to Finster’s art, there will be 60 arts and crafts vendors at the festival and a kids area with an activity table where little artists can make a recycled art project.
Festival director Whitney Nave Jones said Thee Inner Cirkus, a Greenville, S.C.-based troupe that has performed with Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey, will entertain.
Also, visitors can purchase an original Finster metal ornament and decorate that piece, she said.
All proceeds from the festival help fund preservation of Paradise Gardens.
FINSTER FEST MUSIC SCHEDULE
10:45 a.m. Tym Priest
Noon. Julianna Finch
1:15 p.m. Hudson K
2:30 p.m. Chris Hale
3:45 p.m. Mark Kelly Hall & Charlsey Etheridge
5 p.m. Tyler Reddick
Noon. Scott Downes
1:15 p.m. New Binkley Brothers
2:30 p.m. Shaking Ray Levi Society
3:45 p.m. The Bohannons
NORTHWEST GEORGIA HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL
When: 3-11 p.m. today, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Tillotson Field, Highway 48, Menlo, Ga. Take Exit 348 (Ringgold/LaFayette) off I-75 south, bear right off ramp onto Highway 151 south and continue to Highway 27. Turn left onto Highway 27 south, pass through Trion/Summerville, turn right onto Highway 48 at BB&T Bank and continue on Highway 48 for 7 miles to festival.
Admission: $5 adults, $3 children. Tethered balloon rides cost additional $10 adults, $5 children.
Details: Bring your cameras for the beautiful photo-ops when 12 hot-air balloons are lit up from within for balloon glow. The glow will take place at sunset (about 8:30) tonight and Saturday. Among the dozen hot-air balloons floating into Menlo will be the Purple People Eater, a crowd favorite with multiple arms projecting from the huge orb.
Also on tap are 70 arts and crafts vendors, a carnival, live music and tethered balloon rides.
Jeremy Kwaterski said all proceeds benefit the Menlo Lions Club, Chattooga Volunteer Fire Department, upkeep of Menlo recreational fields and help fund scholarships for Chattooga County students.
When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Intersection of First and Parker streets, downtown Cleveland, Tenn.
Details: Admire the work of 20 local artists at this street party sponsored by MainStreet Cleveland to promote historic downtown Cleveland. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Adrian and Stormy Fisher will play and sing a variety of music. Children can take part in musical crafts, then use their creations to play along with the band.
Judy Baker, Maurine Olin and Pete Vanderpool, members of the Cleveland Storytelling Guild, will entertain from 12:30 to 2 p.m., according to Sharon Marr, MainStreet spokeswoman.
TENNESSEE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
When: Block party, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. today, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Rhea County Courthouse square, Market Street, Dayton, Tenn.
Details: First held in 1947, this salute to Rhea County’s strawberry crop has become a 10-day celebration of small-town life. Revelers can try out the carnival rides on the south end of town or mingle among dozens of arts, crafts and food vendors set up on the courthouse square today and Saturday. A parade down Market Street starts at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Tec Conar, co-chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s festival entertainment committee, said he expects this year’s “Strawberry Luau” theme to give the parade “a little more oomph.”
TENNESSEE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS
9 a.m.-11 p.m. Craft and food vendors open
9-12:30 p.m. Dayton Art League Fine Arts Show at Courthouse
4-8 p.m. Entertainment on Centennial Park Stage
6-9 p.m. Cruise-in (lineup at Point Park)
6-11 p.m. Carnival
8-11 p.m. Convertibull on Centennial Park Stage
7-10 a.m. Dayton Rotary pancake breakfast
9 a.m.-11 p.m. Craft and food vendors
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dayton Art League Fine Arts Show at Courthouse
9 a.m.-10 p.m. Family fun area on Third Avenue
9 a.m.-until. Fast-draw competition/exhibition at Point Park
9 a.m.-8 p.m. Gospel stage
1-3 p.m. Parade
1-11 p.m. Carnival
3-8 p.m. Entertainment on Centennial Park Stage
8-10 p.m. Back Roads Band on Centennial Park Stage
* Full schedule: www.tnstrawberryfestival.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 ...