Five key things to know about the county fair:
1. You can't drive to the fair. You'll need to catch a shuttle bus at one of two locations: Northgate Mall or Middle Valley Recreation Center. Cost to ride is $6 for adults and $4 for children 3-12 (strollers are allowed). Entrance to the fair is free. If you need handicap parking and have the proper tags, you will be directed to a designated area inside the park and transported to the fairgrounds.
2. It's a rain-or-shine event. At press time, the weather appeared to be willing to cooperate, with sunny skies and highs in the mid-80s forecast. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days.
3. Don't bring your smokes. Tobacco products are not allowed.
4. The kids will love it. Train rides, pony rides, performing ducks, bungee jumping, model car races ... Who are we kidding? This is fun for all ages.
5. You can find more online. Schedules detailing the entertainment on the fair's three stages as well as events in the Ag & Livestock Arena can be found at hamiltontn.gov/fair/entertainment/default.aspx.
Chester Frost Park is some 280 acres and, this weekend, every inch of that may be accounted for as the Hamilton County Fair sets up shop. Officials with Hamilton County government, which organizes the fair, say more than 40,000 people are expected to attend over the two days, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29.
Visitors will find continuous entertainment on three stages, plus antique tractors, classic cars, arts and crafts, jars of jam, baskets of squash and enough animals to make Old MacDonald envious.
The petting zoo alone boasts sheep, goats, pigs, a miniature donkey, rabbits, ducks, baby chickens and calves. Dozens more animals, from canine to bovine, will be on display and demonstrating skills.
Twenty-four musical acts are scheduled to perform, along with a lineup of gymnasts, twirlers, cheerleaders and tiny tots learning their first dance steps.
More than 40 antique automobiles will be on display. Organizers say to expect vehicles ranging from Model T's to dream cars like a 1957 Chevy.
Antique tractors, old-time engines and retro farm equipment may be viewed as well, along with household appliances and pump motors from the turn of the previous century. An antique Coca-Cola delivery truck may be of particular interest.
Historical exhibits such as soap making and blacksmithing will both educate and entertain.
Members of the Chattanooga Area Model Railroad Club will have a train layout that covers more than 350 feet of track, bridges, overpasses, signals and sidetracks.
The children's area will keep young visitors entertained with everything from sack races to balloon tosses.
Seventy vendors will offer jewelry, home accents, furniture art and homemade goods. If you buy something too unwieldy for the bus ride back, a free parcel delivery service is available.
Need more information? Call 423-209-6030 or visit www.hamiltontn.gov/fair.
FESTIVALS THIS WEEKEND
• Church Festival: New Heights Baptist Church, 158 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, free. nhbcringgold.com.
• DeKalb County VFW Agricultural Fair: VFW Fairgrounds, 100 18th St., Fort Payne, Ala., gates open at 5 p.m. CDT today-Saturday, variety of special ticket prices for admission and midway rides. 256-845-4752.
• Hamilton County Fair: Chester Frost Park, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, catch shuttles at either Northgate Mall or Middle Valley Recreation Center, shuttle fare of $6 adults, $4 children ages 3-12 includes entry fee to fair. hamiltontn.gov/fair.
• National Muscadine Festival: Tsali Notch Vineyard in Sweetwater, Tenn., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, downtown Sweetwater, 7-10 p.m. Friday, free; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Duck Park in downtown Sweetwater, free, $5 Kids Zone armband; noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Battle of the Bands, Duck Park, free. nationalmuscadinefestival.com.
• Rock Spring Show & Sell Craft Fair: 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. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (all times CDT), free admission; sponsored by Tennessee Association of Craft Artists. 615-736-7600.
• Townsend in the Smokies Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day: Flagstone event at Smoky Mountain Visitors Center, 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, Tenn., includes bluegrass music, clogging, square dancing, arts, crafts and Southern cuisine on Friday and Saturday, with shuttles to related events at Trillium Cove, Little River Railroad Museum and Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. Fees for some activities. smokymountains.org, smokymountainfestivals.org, 800-525-6834.