IF YOU GO
What: 1890s Day Jamboree.
When: 6-10 p.m. today, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Downtown Ringgold, Ga.
6 p.m. Gospel music, Courthouse stage.
9 a.m. Dance and fiddle contest, Courthouse Stage.
10 a.m. Music and dance, Cleveland Street Stage.
11 a.m. Parade, downtown.
1 p.m. Talent search, Cleveland Street Stage.
2 p.m. Pageant, Ringgold Depot.
3 p.m. Car show, First Baptist Church.
6 p.m. Folk/country/rock, Cleveland Street stage.
7 p.m. Talent search finals, Ringgold Depot.
9:45 p.m. Fireworks finale, downtown.
One month after an EF4 tornado killed seven people and wrecked scores of homes and buildings in Ringgold, Ga., the city is hosting its 36th annual 1890s Days Jamboree today and Saturday.
“It seemed like a good way to get things back to reality and move on,” said event coordinator Dr. Ronal Graham, who admitted there were initial thoughts of canceling the event this year. “The general consensus was let’s turn it into a positive and let the town rebuild.”
Despite the devastation, the Memorial Day weekend event will feature more than 100 food and arts and crafts vendors, music on three stages, contests, a pageant, a parade, a cruise-in and a fireworks display.
Typically, said Graham, the 1890s Day Jamboree draws 15,000 to 20,000 people to a three-block section of U.S. Highway 41, which is closed for the event.
The event was conceived in the mid-1970s, according to Graham, by then-Catoosa County News owner Juanita Caldwell and Betty Land from a similar event in Dahlonega, Ga.
New to the jamboree this year are two stages of Southern gospel music tonight, featuring the Billy Gray Quartet, Heritage Quartet, New Liberty Boys, Voices Won, Jay Parrack, Testimony and the Jeff Hullender Family, and a talent search on Saturday.
In addition to gospel, music lovers also can check out the fiddle contest, talent search, clogging contest and folk, country and rock music.
The area where the event is held, including the Northwest Georgia Bank Courthouse Stage, Cleveland Street Stage and Ringgold Telephone Co. Stage (Ringgold Depot), were little affected by the tornado, according to Graham.
The Saturday cruise-in this year also is a change, he said. Owners of vehicles of any era can come and go, with a Sponsor’s Choice Award the only prize being awarded.
Event attendees may not walk away empty-handed, though, according to Graham, as Costco will give away several flat-screen televisions
All events are family friendly.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...