IF YOU GO
What: Hamilton County Fair.
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Chester Frost Park, Hixson. Parking not allowed at fairgrounds; park at Northgate Mall or Middle Valley Rec-reation Center and ride shuttle buses to site.
Admission: Free to fair. Shuttles $6 ages 13 and older, $4 ages 3-12.
From blue-ribbon jams to the Bluegrass Pharaohs band, this weekend's Hamilton County Fair offers something to entertain every member of the family.
For the kids, there will be a children's area with free old-fashioned games such as sack races and balloon tosses. Or they may want to check out the expanded petting zoo or bungee jump. The Chattanooga Area Model Railroad Club will return with a 350-foot model train layout complete with bridges, overpasses, signals and sidetracks.
Teens can pick up some new hip-hop moves when urban line dancing is taught at 11 a.m. Sunday on the Community Stage, one of three stages on the fairgrounds. Teens from Hamilton County Schools, dance schools, cheerleading squads and individual acts will be performing on the Community Stage from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Parents will want to shop the 70 vendor booths -- a record number -- where they'll find jewelry, home accents, Christmas decorations, furniture, art and homemade goods. There will be an antique car and tractor show, with 40 antique automobiles expected. And no fair is complete without the home-centered, agricultural, livestock and flower show competitions where entrants vie for blue-ribbon bragging rights.
New this year is a talent show that starts Saturday at 4 p.m. on the Community Stage, said Gina Hatler, public relations manager for Hamilton County Department of Parks and Recreation. Hatler said 17 acts (four groups and 13 soloists) will perform, with a winner being named about 5:45 p.m.
Also new to this year's fair are dog-sledding exhibitions, which will be held twice on Saturday and Sunday in the Ag Arena, and a Zumba class taught on the Community Stage at noon Sunday, she said.
Cindy Thomas is the volunteer coordinator for the musical acts performing on the Dallas Island Stage and Pickin' Porch. Thomas said Dalton Roberts, as is tradition, will open the Pickin' Porch at 11 a.m. Saturday.
"We really do have some good entertainers lined up this year. Other than The Ascots and Dalton Roberts, everyone else is new. Tin Cup Gypsy (who plays the Dallas Island Stage at 2:45 p.m. Saturday) just signed a record deal. Two of its members play for Sara Evans' and Josh Turner's bands," Thomas said.
OTHER FESTIVALS THIS WEEKEND
Arts and Crafts Fair: New Heights Baptist Church, 158 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, free.
Historic Rugby Pilgrimage: Highway 52, Rugby, Tenn., tour more than 20 buildings in the village, new homes and historic private homes, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, $12 adults, $6 students in grades K-12. 423-628-2441.
National Muscadine Festival: Today, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Tsali Notch Vineyard in Sweetwater, Tenn., and 7-10 p.m. downtown Sweetwater, free. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. downtown Sweetwater, free admission, $5 Kids Zone armband. nationalmuscadinefestival.com.
Rock Spring Show & Sell: Rock Spring United Methodist Church, corner of Highway 95 and Peavine Road, Rock Spring, Ga., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, free. 309-7249.
TACA Fall Craft Fair: Centennial Park, 2600 West End Ave., Nashville, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (all times Central), free admission, sponsored by Tennessee Association of Craft Artists. Local artists among the 200 showing are Anderson Bailey, Thomas Spake, Susan Dyer, Angelique Jones and Matt Campbell. 615-736-7600
VFW County Agri Fair: 18th St. NE, Fort Payne, Ala. Gates open 5 p.m. today, 10 a.m. Saturday (all times Central). Admission $3 ages 12 and older, $1 ages 6-11; $15 Kids Day Rideathon 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Big Wills Arts Council's Arts in Education All-Stars perform at 7 p.m. today; The Sharps Quartet and Palmetto State Quartet headline gospel singing at 5 p.m. Saturday. www.dekalbcountyvfwfair.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 ...