Activities at the Georgia Mountain Fair in Hiawassee will include carnival rides and demonstrations of quilting and blacksmithing. Credit: JLB Photography

Georgia Mountain Fair returns with vintage flair and family fun

A trip to North Georgia offers gorgeous views of the mountains and stunning sights of the green pastures. It’s known for its fruit farms and hiking trails. But it’s also home to the Georgia Mountain Fair, a nine-day family-fun affair attended by both locals and travelers.

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Each summer, thousands of people flock to Hiawassee to participate in it, and this year will be no different. The event, planned for July 20-28, is returning for the 68th year to take visitors a step back in time.          

“It’s a very unique fair because we have the Pioneer Village site. It’s a replica of the way people lived many years ago back in the 1800s,” general manager Hilda Thomason said. “It’s a part of our heritage.”

Folks will have a chance to tour a log home with furnishings, a store with products and goods “that only your grandmother might recognize,” a one-room schoolhouse, and other old-time structures. Attendees can even enjoy demonstrations of quilting and blacksmithing, visit about 65 arts and crafts booths, take carnival rides, view the parade, and much more.

There will also be musical performances from an array of artists, including the Mountain Home Music Band, The Inspirations, Etta May and Jimmy Fortune.          

“Everybody loves the fair. It’s a family tradition,” said Thomason, who has held her position for 37 years. “Families return year after year.”

The organ collection, which debuted last year, will be making a comeback. The exhibit, full of antique organs that date to the 1840s, will feature a fresh load of instruments, making the display the largest of its kind in the Southeast.

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“There are three large rooms of them. They are beautiful,” Thomason said. “We have people play on them, and the public can come in and play on them.”

What’s new this year? Organizers are introducing the Human Cannonball Daredevil Show, which will feature a family of acrobats performing unique stunts.

“This is our first time ever having it,” Thomason said. “We’ve never done anything like this before, so I think it’s going to a be nice addition to the fair.”

And the food will be plentiful. The smoked trout is a popular dish, but there will also be plenty of traditional bites such as hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cakes and barbecue.

Thinking of making your way to the fair? Leave your coolers at home. Those aren’t allowed. You can bring your pets to the campgrounds but not the fairgrounds. And if you need a place to cool off, there are a few shady trees and air-conditioned buildings around.

“It’s an experience,” Thomason said. “We want people to come out and go back home with a good feeling.”          

Georgia Mountain Fair

July 20-28. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Parade, 11 a.m. Saturday. Carnival, 2 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 2 p.m. Thursday-Friday, noon Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday. Musical performances vary daily. $12 for a day pass, $33 for a three-day pass and $90 for the duration. Free admission for children 12 and younger. 1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee. 706-896-4191.

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