published Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Weekend fall festival lineup - Oct. 4-27

The fishing booth is a favorite of preschoolers at the Autumn Children’s Festival.
The fishing booth is a favorite of preschoolers at the Autumn Children’s Festival.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Fans of Signal Mountain’s popular Hodgepodge craft show take note: This is the weekend Hodgepodge is launching its new schedule, opening Saturday and Sunday instead of starting on Friday. The show is held in the Signal Mountain Town Hall.

When Hodgepodge was founded 40 years ago, organizers chose the first Friday of October so the event would kick off the craft-show circuit. Now it’s squarely in the middle of the season.

Mountain Arts Community Center director Barb Storm says that since the MACC has been Hodgepodge’s beneficiary, Friday’s revenue seemed to be a little less than Saturday’s.

“So we decided to do as other festivals and move to a Saturday-Sunday format,” she explains. In addition to its new schedule, Hodgepodge is also debuting a gift market.

“The Marketplace is opening this year to a limited amount of vendors with items that aren’t as handmade, are more gift items,” says Storm. “We are also adding an entertainment stage, more food vendors and we have expanded the children’s activities.”

Hodgepodge shoppers can catch a free shuttle from Signal Crest United Methodist Church, 1005 Ridgeway Ave.

The tiny town of Allardt, Tenn., puts a new spin on “the great pumpkin” Saturday when it hosts its 22nd annual Allardt Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off. In addition to the usual festival fun with crafts, pageants, parade and fireworks, this event draws the biggest veggies from across the country as farmers compete for bragging rights.

Just how big is this contest?

Last year’s winners were Jimmy Sowers of Sanford, Ky., with a 657-pound pumpkin. Gale Newsom and Robert Burkett of Lexington, N.C., entered the winning 644-pound green squash, and Bill Neptune of New Concord, Ohio, showed what a prize-winning watermelon looks like at a strapping 266 pounds. Cornstalks, potatoes, tomatoes and sunflowers also compete for the blue ribbons here.

It’s all about kids Saturday and Sunday when the 24th annual Autumn Children’s Festival will take place. This event offers all the games, fun and food of a school carnival set up in a big circle on the grounds of the Tennessee Riverpark. Admission is free, but activities range from 50 cents to $3. Parents pay for games by buying a strip of tickets and using them to cover each activity’s fee. All proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Tiffany Cobb, RMH director of development, says there will be 50 activities in the Riverpark. They will include art, carnival games, horse and pony rides and petting zoo. There will be the preschoolers’ favorite, Go Fish (plop your kid’s fishing line over the booth wall and hook a small toy surprise), to inflatables for bigger kids.

“In the past we’ve had maybe three food vendors, and this year we have six,” says Cobb. Five new booth vendors include one providing free child ID kits to keep children’s fingerprints on file.

For folks who still haven’t gotten their fill of Civil War history after the celebration of the Battle of Chickamauga’s sesquicentennial, the Marsh House in LaFayette, Ga., opens its doors Saturday for its ninth annual Heritage Day

According to Mary Smitherman, there will be vendors selling antique glass, vintage items, wood furniture, handmade jewelry and cards. The stately mansion will be open for tours for a $1 donation; a replica slave cabin will be open for viewing.

Additionally, Smitherman says Gordon Hall/Chattooga Academy will be open with a Civil War exhibit inside.

“It is the oldest brick schoolhouse still standing in Georgia,” she says of its significance.

Entertainment will be provided by vocalists Vince Stalling, Haleigh Parker, Laney Marks, Amy Green, Tanya Torbet, Corey Rose, Jessica Taylor and Autumn Baggett and banjo picker H.E. “Bubba” Cardin.

Smitherman says this is the Marsh House’s largest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds are primarily raised through the sale of concessions. Saturday’s menu includes barbecue, Brunswick stew, funnel cakes, hot dogs and homemade baked goods.

“Some of the best cooks in LaFayette, Ga., are cooking for this,” says Smitherman. “We want people to come out and eat with us.”

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

FESTIVALS THIS WEEKEND

* Allardt Great Pumpkin Festival: Downtown Allardt, Tenn., 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, registration for pumpkin weigh-off, 10 a.m. festival starts with crafts, music, parade, pageant, fireworks to close out day. Great Pumpkin contest and biggest veggie weigh-off 10 am.-1 p.m. at Sandy's Diner. www.allardtpumpkinfestival.com.

* Autumn Children's Festival: Tennessee Riverpark, 4301 Amnicola Highway, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, free admission, activities require tickets that are 50 cents to $3. Benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga. 423-778-4300.

* Boynton Craft Show: Boynton Church of God, 1956 Three Notch Road, Ringgold, Ga., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, free. 706-935-6972.

* Colorfest: Dillsboro, N.C., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, free. Stroll among painters as they capture fall mountain scenes on canvas, also crafters, chefs and musicians on hand. 704-466-3744.

* Cornhuskers Festival: Camp Adahi, 125 Camp Adahi Road, Menlo, Ga., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, $10 per person. Girl Scouts invite girls ages 5-18 to family-friendly event with fall crafts, games, hayrides and more. Register online at www.girlscoutcsa.org.

* CultureFest: Chattanooga Market, First Tennessee Pavilion, 1829 Reggie White Blvd., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, free; music, food and dancing presented by ethnic communities of Chattanooga. chattanoogamarket.com

* Fall Festival: John C. Campbell Folk School, 1 Folk School Road, Brasstown, N.C., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 5-6, $5 adults, $3 ages 12-17; 40th anniversary show with more than 200 crafters. 828-837-2775.

* Garrison Weekend: Fort Loudoun State Historic Park, Highway 360, Vonore, Tenn., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, living-history weekend reenactment with daily life of soldiers and their families, museum open, new interpretive film "Fort Loudoun: Forsaken by God and Man." 423-884-6217.

* Grape Stomp: Georgia Winery, 6469 Battlefield Parkway, Ringgold, Ga., noon-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, children's activities, live music, food and craft vendors, hayrides, wine tasting. 706-937-9463.

* Great Locomotive Chase Festival: Downtown Adairsville, Ga., 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, $3 ages 6 and older, free on Sunday. Exit 306 off Interstate 75, then west on Highway 140 through traffic light, left onto Main to downtown square. 800-733-2280.

* Heritage Day Festival: Marsh House, 308 N. Main St., LaFayette, Ga., 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, booths open, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. tours of mansion and entertainment, free admission, $1 tours of historic house, food and antiques vendors. 706-638-5187.

* Hodgepodge: Signal Mountain Town Hall, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, $5 adults, $3 ages 12-16; benefits Mountain Arts Community Center. 423-402-9960.

* Monteagle Homecoming and Civil War Days: 16 Dixie Ave., Monteagle, Tenn., 10 a.m.-dark CDT Saturday, Oct. 6, free. 931-924-5353.

* Punkin Festival: Kids Park, Soddy-Daisy, opens with Great Punkin Chase 5K run/walk at 10 a.m., ends with fireworks at dark Saturday, Oct. 5, music, car show, pumpkin cook-off, 50 vendors. 423-718-1735.

OCT. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27

* Rocktoberfest: Rock City Gardens, Lookout Mountain, noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday through October; German food, music and dance, free with regular park admission. seerockcity.com/rocktoberfest

about Susan Pierce...

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 ...

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