IF YOU GO
What: Beersheba Springs Arts and Crafts Festival.
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (all times Central).
Where: Beersheba Springs United Methodist Assembly Grounds in Beersheba Springs, Tenn. (Highway 56, 25 miles from Monteagle, Tenn.)
COMING SEPT. 2
The Times Free Press' annual guide to fall festivals and fairs will be published in the Sunday, Sept. 2, Life section. If you want to be included, email your information by Monday to Current@timesfreepress.com.
How does a tiny town in Grundy County, Tenn., with a population of less than 500 folks, manage to draw several thousand visitors in one weekend?
With a two-day arts and crafts festival that has established itself as the kickoff to the fall festival season.
The 46th annual Beersheba Springs Arts and Crafts Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday on the historic United Methodist Assembly grounds in Grundy County. The property is the site of a 19th-century resort and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"We had 13,000 come through last fall," said festival spokeswoman Fran Holt. "I've already had calls on three bus tours bringing senior citizens on day trips this year.
"There will be around 130 exhibitors from several states with many exciting arts and crafts to display and sell," she said.
"Handmade or home-produced" is the Beersheba policy, she said, adding that they try to police this criterion. She said when festival officials have found vendors bringing in manufactured items, those vendors have been asked to leave.
Holt said in addition to hot meals served in the old hotel's dining room, food vendors will be on-site this year.
Shoppers driving up to Grundy County on Saturday might want to make a day of it by staying for the 7 p.m. concert by Heather Fults, the Ed Fults group and On the Road Again and Again Band.
All proceeds from the festival are returned to the community. Holt said money raised helps fill food baskets for needy families as well as benefiting the Beersheba Springs Library, Beersheba Springs Rescue Squad, Beersheba Springs Community Center, Grundy County Center for Exceptional Citizens and North Elementary School.
MORE FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
CUMBERLAND COUNTY FAIR
• When: Monday-Sept. 1.
• Where: Cumberland County Fairgrounds, 34 Music Road, Crossville, Tenn
• Highlights: Infant through teen Fairest of the Fair beauty pageants today and Saturday at Stone Memorial High School.
• Partial schedule: Exhibits accepted 2-7 p.m. Sunday. Exhibit buildings open 10 a.m. Monday. Wade Shows midway opens 5 p.m. each night. Phil Dirt and the Dozers play vintage rock 'n' roll Monday at 8 p.m. Tuesday is Special Needs Day with 7:30 concert by banjo player Roni Stoneman. Wednesday is Senior Citizen Day with 7:30 concert by Gold City. (All times Central.)
• Admission: $4. Midway armbands $20 Monday-Thursday, $25 Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
• Phone: 931-484-9454.
• Website: cumberlandcountyfair.com.
CUMBERLAND COUNTY FALL GARDEN FESTIVAL
• When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. CDT Tuesday.
• Where: Plateau Discovery Gardens, University of Tennessee Plateau AgResearch & Education Center, 320 Experiment Station Road, Crossville, Tenn. (off Highway 70 North).
• Highlights: Cumberland County Master Gardeners and UT experts offer one-on-one advice and seminar sessions on 12 topics (each presented twice), including using herbs for health and nutrition, extending the gardening season and old-time weather predicting. Day includes several vendors and walks and wagon tours.
• Website: ccmga.org.
FRANKLIN COUNTY FAIR
• When: Today-Saturday.
• Where: Southern Middle Tennessee Agricultural Pavilion, 1041 Wilton Circle, Winchester, Tenn.
• Highlights: Tractor pull Friday. Car/motorcycle cruise-in Saturday. Fireworks 9 p.m. both nights.
• Partial schedule: Friday 5 p.m. Julie Taylor and Skeeter Drain, 7 p.m. tractor pull. Saturday cow-milking contest 9 a.m., horseshoe tournament and cruise-in 10 a.m., barbecue cook-off 12:30 p.m., music by Tom Whalen, Ripwood and Bonnie Nunley at 4 p.m., demolition derby and talent show at 7 p.m. (All times Central.)
• Admission: $5, carnival armbands $20.
• Website: franklincotnfair.org.
MARION COUNTY FAIR
• When: Today-Saturday.
• Where: Marion County Fairgrounds, DQ Street, Jasper, Tenn.
• Highlights: Lawnmower races tonight. Four-wheel-drive mud racing, Country Showdown finals Saturday. Noah's Ark petting zoo both days.
• Partial schedule: Saturday, poultry show at 3 p.m., Heart and Soul Dancers at 5:30 p.m., Country Showdown at 7 p.m., CMRA mud racing featuring modified, pro-stock, super-stock and street-legal trucks driving through 125 feet of mud at 7:30 p.m. (All times Central.)
• Admission: $3 adults, $2 students, additional $5 for lawnmower races and mud races.
• Website: marioncountyfair.com.
RHEA COUNTY FAIR
• When: Tuesday-Sept. 1. Gates open 4 p.m. Tuesday-Aug. 31; 8 a.m. Sept. 1.
• Where: Rhea County Ag Center, Evensville, Tenn.
• Highlights: Exhibits, petting zoo, children's games, food and craft vendors every day. Midway by Carnival Tyme Amusements.
• Partial schedule: Tuesday, antique tractor show and parade at 6:30 p.m., tractor rodeo at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, youth gospel singing at 5 p.m. Thursday, poultry show at 6 p.m., Womanless Beauty Pageant at 7 p.m.
• Admission: $5 adults, $2 children.
• Website: rheacountyfair.org.
UFO DAY FESTIVAL
• When: Gates open 8 a.m. Saturday.
• Where: Fyffe Town Park on Graves Street, Fyffe, Ala.
• Highlights: Festival began as a tribute to the 1989 UFO sightings. Now, only flying objects are hot-air balloon rides over Sand Mountain, and UFO stands for Unforgettable Family Outing.
• Partial schedule: Antique car and tractor show 8 a.m.-noon; hot-air balloon rides, entertainment, crafts, kids activities. Music by Ronnie Osborne and Still Kickin, Willie Underwood, Payton Sells and Wrong 2 Wright. (All times Central.)
• Admission: Free.
• Website: facebook.com/FyffeUFODays.
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 ...