A hot-air balloon flies over Sand Mountain during a previous Fyffe UFO Day celebration. In 1989, the Alabama town drew worldwide attention when residents and law officers spotted a large, lighted, noiseless, triangular-shaped object in the sky. The festival has since redubbed UFOs as “unforgettable family outings” and fills the skies with these more recognizable aircraft, offering tethered and untethered rides.Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
IF YOU GO
Beersheba Springs Arts and Crafts Fair
• When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. CDT Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 23-24.
• Where: Beersheba Springs Assembly Grounds, 55 Hege Ave., Beersheba Springs, Tenn.
• Admission: Free.
• Phone: 931-692-3733.
• When: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. CDT Saturday, Aug. 23.
• Where: Fyffe Town Park, Graves Street, Fyffe, Ala.
• Admission: Free; $30 registration for 5K race at 8 a.m.
• Phone: 256-623-2222.
FALL FESTIVAL GUIDE COMING
The Times Free Press’s annual guide to area fall festivals and fairs will be included in the Sunday, Aug. 31, edition of the newspaper.
There’s still time to submit your information. To be included, email your event name, days and hours, location with address, admission price and a contact phone number to Susan Pierce at email@example.com. The deadline to submit information is noon Monday, Aug. 25.
When Fran Holt predicts this weekend’s Beersheba Springs Arts and Crafts Fair is “going to be the best show we’ve had in years,” that’s saying something because the Beersheba Springs fair is marking its 48th anniversary Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24.
Because of its longevity, Beersheba Springs has come to mark the unofficial kickoff of the fall crafts festival season. Holt, chairwoman for the festival, estimates that when the show began there were fewer than 10 other crafts shows in the area.
“Ours started out in the old elementary school with 12 booths. This year we have more than 160 exhibitors,” she says. “Everything has to be handmade or home-produced.”
The fair is held on the grounds of the Beersheba Springs Assembly Grounds. In addition to the crafters, a variety of food vendors share the wooded area. Hot meals are served in the dining room of the old hotel on the assembly grounds.
“A lot of people love to come to the show just for the food,” Holt says. “It’s a very laid-back show, and it’s very beautiful here.”
Proceeds from the festival are pumped right back into the community. Beneficiaries include Beersheba Springs Library, the rescue squad, Beersheba Springs Community Center, North Elementary School, Grundy County Center for Exceptional Citizens and food baskets for needy families.
Beersheba Springs is located on Highway 56, 25 miles from Monteagle, Tenn.
Another festival a short day-trip’s drive away is UFO Day in Fyffe, Ala. The festival kicks off its 10th anniversary on Saturday, Aug. 23, with a 5K run at 8 a.m. Gates to the festival area open at 9 a.m. and entertainment starts at 10 (all times are Central).
Those attending may bring a lawn chair, set up in the shade and enjoy the day’s lineup of musical acts from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. A new act takes the stage every 45 minutes. Thirty food and craft vendors will be on-site as well as a kids’ area. Some of the children’s activities are free; others will require a nominal fee.
In keeping with the UFO theme, five hot-air balloonists will be on-site, says Brandi Clayton, UFO Day chairwoman. The 1989 sightings of unidentified flying objects that put Fyffe on the map have been rethemed to mean “unforgettable family outings.”
Three of the five balloons will be taking visitors up for rides, says Jeff Maddox of Huntsville, Ala., who operates Gone With the Winds Balloon Co. These flights, which go up 2,000 to 3,000 feet, are $200 per person. They will take off twice on Saturday: 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. These rides require advance appointments. Book a ride by emailing rides@balloon ingAL.com
For the less adventurous, the balloonists also will offer tethered rides from 5:30 at 7:30 p.m. at $10 per person. No reservation is needed; just get in line.
The balloonist stresses that all of this depends on Saturday’s weather.
“We won’t take chances, so we may be able to do everything I’ve mentioned, or we may be out altogether. There will not be an official glow; however, if weather grounds the balloons from launching early enough to get a regular flight in but settles down later, the balloonists might put up for an impromptu glow and tethers,” Maddox says.
Contact Susan Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6284.
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 ...